Skipton school promises action after damning report

Craven Herald: COMMITTED: chairman of the governors Kate Molloy COMMITTED: chairman of the governors Kate Molloy

St Stephen’s Catholic Primary School in Skipton has set out a clear plan for improvement after Ofsted placed the school in special measures.

After being rated as outstanding during an inspection in July 2012, the school was judged to be inadequate when another inspection was carried out in February.

Achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management were all rated as inadequate, while inspectors said behaviour and safety of pupils required improvement.

“No doubt it’s come as a massive surprise, given our outstanding Ofsted 18 months ago,” said Kate Molloy, chairman of governors. “Just because you’ve got that outstanding performance badge, it can still come.”

In her report, lead Ofsted inspector Wendy Ripley said: “Standards declined at the end of Year 6 in 2012 and 2013. Too many pupils are underachieving because the work set for them does not take account of what they already know.”

Inspectors also said teaching was inadequate because it did not secure the progress pupils were capable of over time.

Pupils’ attendance fell dramatically in 2013 and “behaviour requires improvement because pupils often lose concentration and their enthusiasm and attention wanes in lessons that are not well planned”.

Mrs Ripley added that “governors do not do enough to hold senior leaders to account” and “leaders do not provide the direction needed to improve the quality of teaching”.

Inspectors did acknowledge that pupils were well cared for and felt safe.

The school’s governing body, North Yorkshire County Council and Leeds Diocese are now working closely together to support the school as it implements an action-plan to raise standards.

“St Stephen’s is a strong community,” said Mrs Molloy. “We believe that the issues identified by Ofsted can be addressed quickly. We all remain totally committed to ensuring that our children receive the best quality Catholic education possible.”

Partnerships with other local good and outstanding diocesan schools have been established in order to share good practice and a consultant headteacher is also working alongside school leaders.

Mrs Molloy said that parents were providing an “overwhelming sense of support” to the school.

She added: “Many people don’t view our school in this way so this give us a chance to be better.”

County councillor Arthur Barker, executive member for schools said: “We are supporting St Stephen’s through this challenging period and will work with all partners to make sure children in the community are given quality teaching and learning and that provision improves rapidly.”

Comments (28)

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12:47pm Tue 15 Apr 14

fifthcolumn says...

Whilst Ms Molloy may believe that the problems at the school can be rectified in a short period of time, I'm highly sceptical.
Also her claim 'that parents were providing an “overwhelming sense of support” to the school.' also rings a little hollow. Parents have been pulling there children out of the school in droves for the last couple of years. Issues around not sufficiently addressing bullying at the school, the poor standards of teaching coupled with children with behavioral problems not being properly managed in the school are the underlying reason for the defections. Couled to this you have good teachers leaving mid-term and inadequate cover being put in place. Even when new governors have been brought in, they have resigned from their posts, frustrated at the lack of real progress they can make and blocked at every turn by some of the 'old guard' who, as been highlighted in the report, were quite happy with the doing little but swallow the 'spin' provided by the schools management.
This report comes as no surprise to those of us who have children at the school. Whilst Ms Molloy may believ parents will be shocked by the report (given the school was previously rated 'outstanding') the truth is that this report is the first accurate assessment of the school and in my opinion was long overdue and shows what a mockery the previous assessment was.
I'm personally very angry that the head teacher and governors have consistently failed the children at the school and who knows how this will affect them as they progress through the rest of their academic life.
Whilst Ms Molloy may believe that the problems at the school can be rectified in a short period of time, I'm highly sceptical. Also her claim 'that parents were providing an “overwhelming sense of support” to the school.' also rings a little hollow. Parents have been pulling there children out of the school in droves for the last couple of years. Issues around not sufficiently addressing bullying at the school, the poor standards of teaching coupled with children with behavioral problems not being properly managed in the school are the underlying reason for the defections. Couled to this you have good teachers leaving mid-term and inadequate cover being put in place. Even when new governors have been brought in, they have resigned from their posts, frustrated at the lack of real progress they can make and blocked at every turn by some of the 'old guard' who, as been highlighted in the report, were quite happy with the doing little but swallow the 'spin' provided by the schools management. This report comes as no surprise to those of us who have children at the school. Whilst Ms Molloy may believ parents will be shocked by the report (given the school was previously rated 'outstanding') the truth is that this report is the first accurate assessment of the school and in my opinion was long overdue and shows what a mockery the previous assessment was. I'm personally very angry that the head teacher and governors have consistently failed the children at the school and who knows how this will affect them as they progress through the rest of their academic life. fifthcolumn
  • Score: 48

9:41pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Nannabanana says...

I heartily agree! I know several parents who have had issues with bullying (and not just by other pupils) and nothing has been done. The parents have since remove their children, and all say that behaviour and learning have increased immeasurably. The staff seem ineffectual and unwilling to co-operate when parents have approached them over various problems concerning their children, so maybe it's time for out with the old, and in with the new.
I heartily agree! I know several parents who have had issues with bullying (and not just by other pupils) and nothing has been done. The parents have since remove their children, and all say that behaviour and learning have increased immeasurably. The staff seem ineffectual and unwilling to co-operate when parents have approached them over various problems concerning their children, so maybe it's time for out with the old, and in with the new. Nannabanana
  • Score: 37

8:41am Fri 18 Apr 14

tulisa86 says...

I don't really think this is the correct forum for such a debate, but felt it necessary to even out the views a little. Contrary to the first comment, my children attend this school and are happy and thriving, I was extremely shocked by the report (if I thought it was a true representation I would have removed my children long ago) and I am supporting the staff-having your efforts slated in such a public fashion based on the observation of a single lesson must be heartbreaking.
Through the school grapevine I was vaguely aware that over a year ago there was a bullying incident that was poorly handled and as a result a small number of children were taken out of the school. My heart goes out to those involved, as seeing your children suffer in such a way must be one of the worst pains a family can suffer, and I hope that the school has learnt from this and can better react in the future; I would support Ofsted's view that the children now feel safe.
On the standard of education, I think it is dangerous to make assumptions based on such a small cohort of children, but for those interested the department of education's website shows far more detailed information on performance than Ofsted's limited dashboard, and the results show a mixed picture that doesn't reflect the conclusions in the report and on some measures we have the best results in Skipton.
In every school I am sure there are areas for improvement, and I feel grateful that our school will get support in working on these. I hope that the parents of our 200 children will provide the support necessary to ensure the staff don't become too disheartened by this awful experience and are able to continue to provide the well-rounded education I feel St Stephen's offers.
I don't really think this is the correct forum for such a debate, but felt it necessary to even out the views a little. Contrary to the first comment, my children attend this school and are happy and thriving, I was extremely shocked by the report (if I thought it was a true representation I would have removed my children long ago) and I am supporting the staff-having your efforts slated in such a public fashion based on the observation of a single lesson must be heartbreaking. Through the school grapevine I was vaguely aware that over a year ago there was a bullying incident that was poorly handled and as a result a small number of children were taken out of the school. My heart goes out to those involved, as seeing your children suffer in such a way must be one of the worst pains a family can suffer, and I hope that the school has learnt from this and can better react in the future; I would support Ofsted's view that the children now feel safe. On the standard of education, I think it is dangerous to make assumptions based on such a small cohort of children, but for those interested the department of education's website shows far more detailed information on performance than Ofsted's limited dashboard, and the results show a mixed picture that doesn't reflect the conclusions in the report and on some measures we have the best results in Skipton. In every school I am sure there are areas for improvement, and I feel grateful that our school will get support in working on these. I hope that the parents of our 200 children will provide the support necessary to ensure the staff don't become too disheartened by this awful experience and are able to continue to provide the well-rounded education I feel St Stephen's offers. tulisa86
  • Score: -34

5:22pm Fri 18 Apr 14

fifthcolumn says...

This is a perfectly valid forum to highlight the sense of anger and frustration some parents feel about the current standard of education St Stephens is providing our children.
Perhaps Tulisa the reason you don't like this as a forum is that the one sided 'spin' provided by the school, which tries to down play the report and findings, comes from parents who, rather than see this as a snap shot of a single lesson or single day at the school, see it verification of the standards the school has sunk to.
Not all the teachers at the school are under performing. Some do a fantastic job but are failed by the school management. There has been more than one occasion where my children's schooling has been left in the hands of well meaning but unqualified teaching assistants.
Whilst you might want to try to discredit the findings, I hope the school rather than bury their collective heads in the sand, faces up to the responsibility of uping its game. That means real change and not just lip service. The cosy cabal that runs the school needs to go and be replaced by those capable and willing to make some difficult but necessary changes.
This is a perfectly valid forum to highlight the sense of anger and frustration some parents feel about the current standard of education St Stephens is providing our children. Perhaps Tulisa the reason you don't like this as a forum is that the one sided 'spin' provided by the school, which tries to down play the report and findings, comes from parents who, rather than see this as a snap shot of a single lesson or single day at the school, see it verification of the standards the school has sunk to. Not all the teachers at the school are under performing. Some do a fantastic job but are failed by the school management. There has been more than one occasion where my children's schooling has been left in the hands of well meaning but unqualified teaching assistants. Whilst you might want to try to discredit the findings, I hope the school rather than bury their collective heads in the sand, faces up to the responsibility of uping its game. That means real change and not just lip service. The cosy cabal that runs the school needs to go and be replaced by those capable and willing to make some difficult but necessary changes. fifthcolumn
  • Score: 41

5:25pm Fri 18 Apr 14

SandySue says...

As a member of a family which has attended St Stephens for many generations, I feel angry and embarassed at what has happened to our school. Parents have been expressing concerns for some time. I feel for the teachers, and I too hope they don,t become disheartened with this situation, which many feel is caused by weak and ineffective leadership.
As a member of a family which has attended St Stephens for many generations, I feel angry and embarassed at what has happened to our school. Parents have been expressing concerns for some time. I feel for the teachers, and I too hope they don,t become disheartened with this situation, which many feel is caused by weak and ineffective leadership. SandySue
  • Score: 28

7:11pm Fri 18 Apr 14

tulisa86 says...

Just wanted to say that I'm relieved you feel able to support the teachers - what happens next will depend greatly on whether they feel parents have faith in them, and they may well read these comments. Like fifth column I hope we see real change where needed, although as an aside it is.perfectly legal for hltas to take classes .
Just wanted to say that I'm relieved you feel able to support the teachers - what happens next will depend greatly on whether they feel parents have faith in them, and they may well read these comments. Like fifth column I hope we see real change where needed, although as an aside it is.perfectly legal for hltas to take classes . tulisa86
  • Score: -30

7:50pm Fri 18 Apr 14

bignormforpm says...

Ofsted were right to put the school in special measures (it wasn't based on just 1 lesson - you can actually download the ofsted report which is quite informative about the whole issue), this is evident on a personal level as my children who moved schools from St Stephens to another school now are different children both socially and academically. They have come on leaps and bounds. What the school needs is new leadership as it seems to me it has lost it's way, maybe a fresh pair of eyes and a new direction could restore the confidence of all concerned.
Ofsted were right to put the school in special measures (it wasn't based on just 1 lesson - you can actually download the ofsted report which is quite informative about the whole issue), this is evident on a personal level as my children who moved schools from St Stephens to another school now are different children both socially and academically. They have come on leaps and bounds. What the school needs is new leadership as it seems to me it has lost it's way, maybe a fresh pair of eyes and a new direction could restore the confidence of all concerned. bignormforpm
  • Score: 34

10:59am Sat 19 Apr 14

InNominePatrick says...

I don't think anyone is suggesting that the school broke the law by using HLTAs to teach classes. But whether this constitutes best practice with regard to the needs of children's is a different matter.

I agree with fifthcolumn's point that the main problem highlighted in the report is the suggestion that the Head was economical with the truth when reporting progress to the Governors and the lack of due diligence performed by the governing body when considering those reports. The governing body has a responsibility to ensure that any information presented is checked for accuracy or at least provenance, and they've failed in their duty in respect to this.

If it's true that there's an "old guard" within the governing body blocking progress and defending an underachieving Head with "overly positive views" of performance, then something must change and quickly. Either the Head needs replacing or the Governors need to make sure that he's accountable for his actions. It seems, with the current selection of Governors that this is unlikely to happen. For the sake of our children, the Governors need to either resign their posts to those more willing and able to hold the management to account, or to relieve the current Head of his position and find someone more willing and able to support the educational needs of the children.
I don't think anyone is suggesting that the school broke the law by using HLTAs to teach classes. But whether this constitutes best practice with regard to the needs of children's is a different matter. I agree with fifthcolumn's point that the main problem highlighted in the report is the suggestion that the Head was economical with the truth when reporting progress to the Governors and the lack of due diligence performed by the governing body when considering those reports. The governing body has a responsibility to ensure that any information presented is checked for accuracy or at least provenance, and they've failed in their duty in respect to this. If it's true that there's an "old guard" within the governing body blocking progress and defending an underachieving Head with "overly positive views" of performance, then something must change and quickly. Either the Head needs replacing or the Governors need to make sure that he's accountable for his actions. It seems, with the current selection of Governors that this is unlikely to happen. For the sake of our children, the Governors need to either resign their posts to those more willing and able to hold the management to account, or to relieve the current Head of his position and find someone more willing and able to support the educational needs of the children. InNominePatrick
  • Score: 45

9:02pm Sat 19 Apr 14

auntygove says...

As a parent of two children currently attending St Stephen's, I have had a largely excellent experience with regard to education at the school and have, almost without exception, found the teaching staff to be dedicated and hard-working. It worries me that this report will only add to the stress levels of teachers and distract them from their work. Morale must be low at the moment and I would hate to see them become scapegoats where top-level management and governance are to blame for the current situation. As such, I think it is important for parents to show their support for the teaching staff.

That said, something clearly needs to change, and this change has to come from the top. If parents are to have any level of confidence in the governance of the school, then the Governors' response needs to be immediate and decisive.
As a parent of two children currently attending St Stephen's, I have had a largely excellent experience with regard to education at the school and have, almost without exception, found the teaching staff to be dedicated and hard-working. It worries me that this report will only add to the stress levels of teachers and distract them from their work. Morale must be low at the moment and I would hate to see them become scapegoats where top-level management and governance are to blame for the current situation. As such, I think it is important for parents to show their support for the teaching staff. That said, something clearly needs to change, and this change has to come from the top. If parents are to have any level of confidence in the governance of the school, then the Governors' response needs to be immediate and decisive. auntygove
  • Score: 23

5:27pm Tue 22 Apr 14

flibbertygibbet says...

I am another parent with two children at this school and feel extremely anxious. I really want to keep my children at the school but it all depends on what happens going forward.The best recipe for turning around a school in special measures is as follows:
1. Install effective leadership ( this is my biggest issue unless this changes we will have to leave)
2.provide high quality technical guidance particularly in teaching and assessment.
3.Ensure effective governance.
We have a very special school with great teachers and a fantastic community, but I feel the teachers and children have been let down by poor leadership. Like any team it will only be as effective as its leader. It is now time for change and a new leader.
I am another parent with two children at this school and feel extremely anxious. I really want to keep my children at the school but it all depends on what happens going forward.The best recipe for turning around a school in special measures is as follows: 1. Install effective leadership ( this is my biggest issue unless this changes we will have to leave) 2.provide high quality technical guidance particularly in teaching and assessment. 3.Ensure effective governance. We have a very special school with great teachers and a fantastic community, but I feel the teachers and children have been let down by poor leadership. Like any team it will only be as effective as its leader. It is now time for change and a new leader. flibbertygibbet
  • Score: 13

9:35pm Tue 22 Apr 14

tulisa86 says...

"It is visionary, passionate leadership that is at the heart of this thriving school. Leaders have high aspirations for pupils, their families and staff". Ofsted, 2012.
For those who have had a different direct experience, fair enough. To me, this demonstrates the unreliability of the ofsted assessment process and, rather than swallowing "spin", I am relying on DfE's figures and my own children's experiences in my decision to support the school.
"It is visionary, passionate leadership that is at the heart of this thriving school. Leaders have high aspirations for pupils, their families and staff". Ofsted, 2012. For those who have had a different direct experience, fair enough. To me, this demonstrates the unreliability of the ofsted assessment process and, rather than swallowing "spin", I am relying on DfE's figures and my own children's experiences in my decision to support the school. tulisa86
  • Score: -25

9:57pm Tue 22 Apr 14

flibbertygibbet says...

If our school is to move forward and progress people need to accept and face up to the Ofsted report of February 2014. If people choose to be in denial then how will we ever improve.
If our school is to move forward and progress people need to accept and face up to the Ofsted report of February 2014. If people choose to be in denial then how will we ever improve. flibbertygibbet
  • Score: 12

11:45pm Tue 22 Apr 14

auntygove says...

I also support the school and the teachers, but I don't think for a minute that one Ofsted report overrides another. I think our school does have some outstanding features, but there are areas in which we have to accept it is inadequate. As fibbertygibbet says, if we ignore those inadequate features, we're condemned to repeating the same mistakes. I'm not willing to play Russian Roulette with my kids' education; I want a school that's outstanding in every respect. While that may be difficult to achieve, we don't have a hope of achieving it unless we address the lack of honesty, openness and strategic direction highlighted in the most recent report.
I also support the school and the teachers, but I don't think for a minute that one Ofsted report overrides another. I think our school does have some outstanding features, but there are areas in which we have to accept it is inadequate. As fibbertygibbet says, if we ignore those inadequate features, we're condemned to repeating the same mistakes. I'm not willing to play Russian Roulette with my kids' education; I want a school that's outstanding in every respect. While that may be difficult to achieve, we don't have a hope of achieving it unless we address the lack of honesty, openness and strategic direction highlighted in the most recent report. auntygove
  • Score: 16

12:32am Wed 23 Apr 14

warp n weft says...

I support the school too. And it is because of that, that i also feel it is time for drastic changes at the very top.

I am also a parent of 2 currently at the school. I have had a couple of bad experiences in amongst many great ones. I wish now that I had not let one particular complaint go. I let it go exactly because of all of the great things about St Stephens. But clearly, some things, important things, do not get sorted. It seems that removing your kids and complaining to the authority is what it takes for the everyday complaints to be considered, and actioned.

Tulisa - you quote the 'visionary passionate leadership' and apparently that leaders "have high aspirations for pupils, their families and staff" - they may well do, but those aspirations have to be converted into actual actions for it to mean anything. The 2014 report -even quoted by the Craven Herald - says “leaders do not provide the direction needed to improve the quality of teaching”.

So either something drastic changes, or more people will take their kids out and complain to the authority. Maybe if that happens, then the real change will come. How sad to think that might be, when there are so many great things about our school.
I support the school too. And it is because of that, that i also feel it is time for drastic changes at the very top. I am also a parent of 2 currently at the school. I have had a couple of bad experiences in amongst many great ones. I wish now that I had not let one particular complaint go. I let it go exactly because of all of the great things about St Stephens. But clearly, some things, important things, do not get sorted. It seems that removing your kids and complaining to the authority is what it takes for the everyday complaints to be considered, and actioned. Tulisa - you quote the 'visionary passionate leadership' and apparently that leaders "have high aspirations for pupils, their families and staff" - they may well do, but those aspirations have to be converted into actual actions for it to mean anything. The 2014 report -even quoted by the Craven Herald - says “leaders do not provide the direction needed to improve the quality of teaching”. So either something drastic changes, or more people will take their kids out and complain to the authority. Maybe if that happens, then the real change will come. How sad to think that might be, when there are so many great things about our school. warp n weft
  • Score: 5

12:38am Wed 23 Apr 14

COLINSAV says...

We have 2 children at the school and have been involved as a family for many generations. It indeed was very dissappointing to read the latest Ofsted report but really two extreme reports within eighteen months at different ends of the spectrum clearly leave Ofsted with serious questions to answer. It's not a question of being in denial as clearly issues need resolving and outside help will be a welcome factor but to call for a change of leadership is very premature. The morale and confidence of staff must be very low and it is up to us as parents and a community to pull together and provide help and support in what ever way we can. We are fortunate to have some good teachers and very supportive parents. The current academic year already shows improved performance and attendance levels are already back up to the national average. The Ofsted report is already 2 months old and quoting data from last year and steps have already been made to improve the situation. We must collectively move forward and yes constructive criticism is always good . Let's make our school outstanding and work together as a team positively to achieve this
We have 2 children at the school and have been involved as a family for many generations. It indeed was very dissappointing to read the latest Ofsted report but really two extreme reports within eighteen months at different ends of the spectrum clearly leave Ofsted with serious questions to answer. It's not a question of being in denial as clearly issues need resolving and outside help will be a welcome factor but to call for a change of leadership is very premature. The morale and confidence of staff must be very low and it is up to us as parents and a community to pull together and provide help and support in what ever way we can. We are fortunate to have some good teachers and very supportive parents. The current academic year already shows improved performance and attendance levels are already back up to the national average. The Ofsted report is already 2 months old and quoting data from last year and steps have already been made to improve the situation. We must collectively move forward and yes constructive criticism is always good . Let's make our school outstanding and work together as a team positively to achieve this COLINSAV
  • Score: -5

7:38am Wed 23 Apr 14

flibbertygibbet says...

When our current leaders have historically refused help and support from the LEA and the Diocese to the point of isolating our school from the local school communities, how will a suitable partnership be formed to take our school out of special measures?
When our current leaders have historically refused help and support from the LEA and the Diocese to the point of isolating our school from the local school communities, how will a suitable partnership be formed to take our school out of special measures? flibbertygibbet
  • Score: 1

8:26am Wed 23 Apr 14

COLINSAV says...

The point is that the school can no longer refuse help from the LEA and Diocese as that is one of the consequences of being put in special measures. Clearly they will have to form a partnership and work together as a team this will lift the school back up to where it belongs
The point is that the school can no longer refuse help from the LEA and Diocese as that is one of the consequences of being put in special measures. Clearly they will have to form a partnership and work together as a team this will lift the school back up to where it belongs COLINSAV
  • Score: 5

5:18pm Wed 23 Apr 14

DizzyG says...

As a parent who removed a child in year 5, after highlighting areas of concerns as stipulated by ofsted , I feel vindicated by ofsted in my decision . After being called pompous by the current incumbent I endorse the report. We only have one chance to get this right for our children and they failed . It is time that Thompson and Malloy stepped down and the Bradford and keighley partnership took over to preserve catholic education in the diocese. Whilst the report is lamentable, these vicissitudes must be ironed out. Catholic education is second to non and this school has not lived up to the mark .
As a parent who removed a child in year 5, after highlighting areas of concerns as stipulated by ofsted , I feel vindicated by ofsted in my decision . After being called pompous by the current incumbent I endorse the report. We only have one chance to get this right for our children and they failed . It is time that Thompson and Malloy stepped down and the Bradford and keighley partnership took over to preserve catholic education in the diocese. Whilst the report is lamentable, these vicissitudes must be ironed out. Catholic education is second to non and this school has not lived up to the mark . DizzyG
  • Score: 4

9:52pm Wed 23 Apr 14

COLINSAV says...

Sorry Dizzy G I disagree completely with your comments. I am pleased that you feel happy with your decision to remove your child from year 5, but I am so pleased my child is now in year 6 with an excellent class teacher . The current year 6 have excelled in their achievements with more pupils passing the selection tests for secondary education than any other primary school in Skipton. Out of a class 26, 14 have passed the selection tests, this is more than any other previous year in the schools recent history . It is incorrect and naive to say that Catholic education is second to none and I am pleased that we did not join the multi academy trust last year with Bradford Keighley schools with which we have little in common other than shared faith. Instead we have the opportunity to work closely with the LEA and an outstanding catholic school in Harrogate with which we have more in common. My family and I are strong Catholics and members of St Stephens Church but we are not narrow minded to suggest ours is the only way.
We feel Mrs Malloy and Mr Thompson deserve our support and together we will turn the school around to what ever framework Ofsted choose at the time.
The school will become better and stronger and provide our children with the best education they deserve.
Sorry Dizzy G I disagree completely with your comments. I am pleased that you feel happy with your decision to remove your child from year 5, but I am so pleased my child is now in year 6 with an excellent class teacher . The current year 6 have excelled in their achievements with more pupils passing the selection tests for secondary education than any other primary school in Skipton. Out of a class 26, 14 have passed the selection tests, this is more than any other previous year in the schools recent history . It is incorrect and naive to say that Catholic education is second to none and I am pleased that we did not join the multi academy trust last year with Bradford Keighley schools with which we have little in common other than shared faith. Instead we have the opportunity to work closely with the LEA and an outstanding catholic school in Harrogate with which we have more in common. My family and I are strong Catholics and members of St Stephens Church but we are not narrow minded to suggest ours is the only way. We feel Mrs Malloy and Mr Thompson deserve our support and together we will turn the school around to what ever framework Ofsted choose at the time. The school will become better and stronger and provide our children with the best education they deserve. COLINSAV
  • Score: -20

1:06pm Thu 24 Apr 14

warp n weft says...

It's clear from some of the comments here that some parents have been aggrieved by incidents at school, and how their complaints have been dealt with. It must be really frustrating and awful to have felt forced into removing children and never having had a good forum for exploring this narrative and being able to get some sense of closure. The school has helped create this bad feeling and angry storytelling by not offering a suitable communication channel. The paranoia from within about what people might say can lead to far more destructive public commenting.

However, as parents who still have children at the school, we must try to avoid an overly negative narrative. It can end up clouding what the real issues are that we now face.

1. Mrs Molloy is relatively new in the current line-up of governors. So far I have found her openness to addressing difficult issues very refreshing. As the new Chair of Govs she does deserve our support: I have a good deal of faith that she can lead us through this tough time. Ultimately, she will be accountable by getting positive results.

2. As one very eloquent parent put it last night, the governors are effectively non-executive directors. And now that we are in the equivalent of administration, there is no room for waiting patiently for change or having faith that change will come. They need to behave like non-executive directors. If they can't, they need to use their skills elsewhere.

3. The leadership needs to be clearly defined and communicated to the parents. The rather woolly explanation that came last night, following another question about the senior leadership, did not clearly state who is doing what job, other than there is a senior leadership team. If it's frustrating for me as a parent to not know who is accountable for what, it must be frustrating and stressful for the teachers who are expected to be accountable. Especially now they are being micro-managed by the LA and diocese. (I'm making the assumption that there is no formal leadership structure, rather than there being a secret one that we're not allowed to know about)

4. As parents we need to know we can trust the Head to lead us out of this mess, not just in the next 18 months while the LA are lending their support; permanently. I am open to convincing that this is a possibility. Our 'flightpath' will presumably include regular checkpoints. I need to see concrete evidence that the failings highlighted by Ofsted have been addressed, reversed and produce results in a sustainable way. I don't want to wait for a formal once-termly update following each HMI visit. A term is a long time in a child's primary education. If Ofsted expect evidence of learning every 20 minutes, I think as parents we can expect very regular updates too (I don't mean individual learning, I mean how the school is addressing it's previous failings).

5. I'm not convinced that paying for 10 days support from another Head is the best use of taxpayer's money. Why are there not published replicable systems for all primary schools to use? It comes down to skill sets and competencies. If we have the skill set to implement sustainable and accurate systems, do it. If we don't have those skills within school - get them in.

I thought the meeting last night was a very good start to including the parents in the process. I hope they will provide a channel for more questions and answers very soon as not everyone could be there last night and I'm sure there were questions not asked - it was a packed room!

We are a very strong community. Let's not lose our identity. We don't need the academy model for our children to have a good grounding in life, to help them become successful 21st century citizens. We are lucky that North Yorkshire are a very strong Local Authority in education. We have 2 leading teachers on our staff and some really great talent, including newly qualified teachers who have experience of the latest best teaching practice. So, they are required to make changes and I'm sure it will be a challenge at times. But I know many parents are very supportive of our teachers and support staff. I believe they can do it - with the right frameworks in place - and I'm very grateful.
It's clear from some of the comments here that some parents have been aggrieved by incidents at school, and how their complaints have been dealt with. It must be really frustrating and awful to have felt forced into removing children and never having had a good forum for exploring this narrative and being able to get some sense of closure. The school has helped create this bad feeling and angry storytelling by not offering a suitable communication channel. The paranoia from within about what people might say can lead to far more destructive public commenting. However, as parents who still have children at the school, we must try to avoid an overly negative narrative. It can end up clouding what the real issues are that we now face. 1. Mrs Molloy is relatively new in the current line-up of governors. So far I have found her openness to addressing difficult issues very refreshing. As the new Chair of Govs she does deserve our support: I have a good deal of faith that she can lead us through this tough time. Ultimately, she will be accountable by getting positive results. 2. As one very eloquent parent put it last night, the governors are effectively non-executive directors. And now that we are in the equivalent of administration, there is no room for waiting patiently for change or having faith that change will come. They need to behave like non-executive directors. If they can't, they need to use their skills elsewhere. 3. The leadership needs to be clearly defined and communicated to the parents. The rather woolly explanation that came last night, following another question about the senior leadership, did not clearly state who is doing what job, other than there is a senior leadership team. If it's frustrating for me as a parent to not know who is accountable for what, it must be frustrating and stressful for the teachers who are expected to be accountable. Especially now they are being micro-managed by the LA and diocese. (I'm making the assumption that there is no formal leadership structure, rather than there being a secret one that we're not allowed to know about) 4. As parents we need to know we can trust the Head to lead us out of this mess, not just in the next 18 months while the LA are lending their support; permanently. I am open to convincing that this is a possibility. Our 'flightpath' will presumably include regular checkpoints. I need to see concrete evidence that the failings highlighted by Ofsted have been addressed, reversed and produce results in a sustainable way. I don't want to wait for a formal once-termly update following each HMI visit. A term is a long time in a child's primary education. If Ofsted expect evidence of learning every 20 minutes, I think as parents we can expect very regular updates too (I don't mean individual learning, I mean how the school is addressing it's previous failings). 5. I'm not convinced that paying for 10 days support from another Head is the best use of taxpayer's money. Why are there not published replicable systems for all primary schools to use? It comes down to skill sets and competencies. If we have the skill set to implement sustainable and accurate systems, do it. If we don't have those skills within school - get them in. I thought the meeting last night was a very good start to including the parents in the process. I hope they will provide a channel for more questions and answers very soon as not everyone could be there last night and I'm sure there were questions not asked - it was a packed room! We are a very strong community. Let's not lose our identity. We don't need the academy model for our children to have a good grounding in life, to help them become successful 21st century citizens. We are lucky that North Yorkshire are a very strong Local Authority in education. We have 2 leading teachers on our staff and some really great talent, including newly qualified teachers who have experience of the latest best teaching practice. So, they are required to make changes and I'm sure it will be a challenge at times. But I know many parents are very supportive of our teachers and support staff. I believe they can do it - with the right frameworks in place - and I'm very grateful. warp n weft
  • Score: 7

7:46pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Rogue Justice says...

Let me say right from the start this public nastiness directed toward the management of the school is a disgrace. Good people who have worked hard and given their lives over a many years to make St Stephens a special caring school deserve to be treated better than this.

Ofsted reports from 2004 to 2012 (8years) can be viewed on the Ofsted website. All these reports have provided judgements of good or better, with an impressive Outstanding judgement in 2012. St Stephens has been a high flying school for a number of years and the envy of many local schools.

The fickle nature with which schools can be disregarded on a mere 1-2 day inspection is shocking.

To lose sight of the schools past history and to be so condemning of good people, who have served the school well over many years, is deeply wrong and will do nothing to help drive the school forward.

All too often we see good schools criticised by inspectors whose remit changes from year to year.

There for the grace of God goes the potential future of all schools. St Stephens have been harshly treated.

I do not deny that there are parents who are unhappy with behavioural issues and that results have dipped - these are matters that affect all schools from time to time and need addressing sure...but this public humiliation is in danger of becoming an unholy, unproductive, nasty mess.

The headteacher is a decent man who has the led the school for many years and been praised for his skills and has respect from many parents and educators in the area. To cast him in such an unfavourable light via some of these comments is in my view unfair and cruel. He has been a great headteacher and does not deserve this awful abuse.

What other job would generate such vehemence and vitriol?

Work together, support your headteacher and appreciate all the great staff and governors who try so hard for the pupils of St Stephens. Focusing on HLTA staff is ludicrous - HLTA staff are a governmental initiative and with tight budgets they are often the only way schools can afford to cover the government required Planning and Preparation time (10per cent of a teachers working week, which needs to be planned into the school budget).

I don't care what the report says, St Stephens is not an inadequate school. It is a fine school and deserves the support of the whole community in moving forward.

I ask all parents who value the school to voice their support for the headteacher, governors and staff and to as the Chair and to keep in the mind that since 2004 the school have been praised in inspection report after inspection report - if things have slipped a bit recently then get it fixed but do this by working with the headteacher and governors not apart from them.

St Stephens is a catholic school with Christian ideals of fairness, forgiveness and respect. It is about time St Stephens school,community remembered this and acted with due decorum.
Let me say right from the start this public nastiness directed toward the management of the school is a disgrace. Good people who have worked hard and given their lives over a many years to make St Stephens a special caring school deserve to be treated better than this. Ofsted reports from 2004 to 2012 (8years) can be viewed on the Ofsted website. All these reports have provided judgements of good or better, with an impressive Outstanding judgement in 2012. St Stephens has been a high flying school for a number of years and the envy of many local schools. The fickle nature with which schools can be disregarded on a mere 1-2 day inspection is shocking. To lose sight of the schools past history and to be so condemning of good people, who have served the school well over many years, is deeply wrong and will do nothing to help drive the school forward. All too often we see good schools criticised by inspectors whose remit changes from year to year. There for the grace of God goes the potential future of all schools. St Stephens have been harshly treated. I do not deny that there are parents who are unhappy with behavioural issues and that results have dipped - these are matters that affect all schools from time to time and need addressing sure...but this public humiliation is in danger of becoming an unholy, unproductive, nasty mess. The headteacher is a decent man who has the led the school for many years and been praised for his skills and has respect from many parents and educators in the area. To cast him in such an unfavourable light via some of these comments is in my view unfair and cruel. He has been a great headteacher and does not deserve this awful abuse. What other job would generate such vehemence and vitriol? Work together, support your headteacher and appreciate all the great staff and governors who try so hard for the pupils of St Stephens. Focusing on HLTA staff is ludicrous - HLTA staff are a governmental initiative and with tight budgets they are often the only way schools can afford to cover the government required Planning and Preparation time (10per cent of a teachers working week, which needs to be planned into the school budget). I don't care what the report says, St Stephens is not an inadequate school. It is a fine school and deserves the support of the whole community in moving forward. I ask all parents who value the school to voice their support for the headteacher, governors and staff and to as the Chair and to keep in the mind that since 2004 the school have been praised in inspection report after inspection report - if things have slipped a bit recently then get it fixed but do this by working with the headteacher and governors not apart from them. St Stephens is a catholic school with Christian ideals of fairness, forgiveness and respect. It is about time St Stephens school,community remembered this and acted with due decorum. Rogue Justice
  • Score: -20

8:15pm Thu 24 Apr 14

fifthcolumn says...

Parents have very right to call for the head and the governors to go. The report from Ofsted mirrors exactly my opinion of the school. An opinion which has sunk lower and lower in the last three years. Not one that was formed in two days at the school. However, interesting to see the inspector could reach the same conclusions I have formed about the school in only two days there!
Despite raising concerns about the standard of education my children were receiving, the headmaster simply played lip service to the concerns. He simply allowed standards to fall and issues of bullying etc to go on, whilst more and more parents took their children out of the school, whilst all the time doing nothing until it was too late.
Its all very well and good living on past glories the school may have attained such as previous Ofsted reports, but for those of us with children at the school now, we want the best education for them. Should we simply write off our children's education in order to preserve the cosy set up of an under performing head and governing body?
It is not this forum which has damaged the school's reputation. It was the failures of the head and governors who have achieved that.
Parents have very right to call for the head and the governors to go. The report from Ofsted mirrors exactly my opinion of the school. An opinion which has sunk lower and lower in the last three years. Not one that was formed in two days at the school. However, interesting to see the inspector could reach the same conclusions I have formed about the school in only two days there! Despite raising concerns about the standard of education my children were receiving, the headmaster simply played lip service to the concerns. He simply allowed standards to fall and issues of bullying etc to go on, whilst more and more parents took their children out of the school, whilst all the time doing nothing until it was too late. Its all very well and good living on past glories the school may have attained such as previous Ofsted reports, but for those of us with children at the school now, we want the best education for them. Should we simply write off our children's education in order to preserve the cosy set up of an under performing head and governing body? It is not this forum which has damaged the school's reputation. It was the failures of the head and governors who have achieved that. fifthcolumn
  • Score: 26

8:35pm Thu 24 Apr 14

InNominePatrick says...

Every job that carries a similar weight. Heads of public bodies and captains of industry are often expected to vacate their positions when their organisations are no longer performing. There are many good and decent man who don't make great leaders. Times have changed and educational leadership along with them, and even once great leaders don't stay great forever as is borne out throughout history. I agree with Rogue Justice's post on a number of counts though; that public humiliation of this type is unfair and unproductive, that we have some exceptional teachers, that a proportion of our governors serve the school well, and I think the Chair has done an excellent job of communicating since this mess, and it is already a mess, started. Regardless of what any of us think of the report, the Governors have a legal duty to act. To bond together in love, as is the Catholic way, and put our faith in our Head won't fix this. It's a difficult situation and difficult decisions must be made.
Every job that carries a similar weight. Heads of public bodies and captains of industry are often expected to vacate their positions when their organisations are no longer performing. There are many good and decent man who don't make great leaders. Times have changed and educational leadership along with them, and even once great leaders don't stay great forever as is borne out throughout history. I agree with Rogue Justice's post on a number of counts though; that public humiliation of this type is unfair and unproductive, that we have some exceptional teachers, that a proportion of our governors serve the school well, and I think the Chair has done an excellent job of communicating since this mess, and it is already a mess, started. Regardless of what any of us think of the report, the Governors have a legal duty to act. To bond together in love, as is the Catholic way, and put our faith in our Head won't fix this. It's a difficult situation and difficult decisions must be made. InNominePatrick
  • Score: 0

11:52pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Rogue Justice says...

I wish to emphasise the point that Mr Thompson has proved himself on numerous occasions as evidenced through annual local authority visits and numerous Ofsted inspections. Each inspection in the past has been rigorous and demanding and he has delivered in all but this most recent one. He would not have got judgements of good or outstanding if he and his staff were not doing a sound job. Where is the loyalty for someone who has served the school so well, for so many years?

I agree that each child only gets one chance and that it has to be right and I sympathise with any family who feels that their school has let them down or a decision has been made that they strongly disagree with.

I also believe though that for things to get to this public level is extremely damaging. Damaging to staff morale, undermining of future discipline and behaviour/academic standards as the children will be affected by this ongoing resentment between parents and staff that they like and respect. Damaging to the schools reputation in the community...

Mr Thompson is still the man for the job in my mind and he needs governing body, staff and parent support behind him.He has led the school well in the past and has the necessary integrity, conscientiousness and drive to put things right.

Do you really think that changing the headteacher will solve things? I wonder which headteacher would want to be a replacement based on the fickleness shown by an inspection system where a school can be Outstanding one year and eighteen months later be considered inadequate.More than that, the moment the school hits a rough patch there is witch hunt for a scapegoat.

Mr Thompson may be the headteacher but the leadership and management judgement is aimed at the governing body, subject and area coordinators - the report attacks the leadership team not the headteacher. The inspectors need to be clear about this. What a joke! The whole system is wrong.

Also, how come the Local Authority, who visit St Stephens on a termly basis to look at results and scrutinise behaviour didn't pick anything up? Why do Ofsted give impressive Ofsted judgements year after year and the Authority checks suggest all is well and then suddenly change all of a sudden! Something isn't right here!

For the person who says that the authority is a leading authority...well think again, it isn't anymore. The authority has seen a cull in jobs and posts formerly designed to support schools and the current Ofsted judgement for North Yorkshire reflects this.

Every school or business will have a headteacher who has mishandled an incident ( if indeed he did as I do not know the specifics) and every school will have cohorts of children who do not achieve the highest grades or children who misbehave. Schools have to make do with the best tools at their disposal and those tools are limited.

I am concerned that real issues that could so easily have been dealt with internally have erupted into such a damaging Ofsted Report.

There is a grievance procedure for complaints about staff, including the headteacher that ultimately include the Local Authority. These 'systems' should be proficient to ensure fairness for all. Fairness for the parent or family that has a complaint and fair for the staff member in that if they have done wrong they are taken to task and if they have done nothing wrong they are exonerated.

Why has it taken Her Majesty's inspectorate to take such a heavy handed response that results in decimating the entire school community! Talk about overstepping the mark!

The School needs a robust system for grievance procedure and the leadership and management team needs to be redefined and all need to be clear about their roles - but do this in support and with the expertise of the headteacher.

Remember that the governors are not paid to do this job either. They give up their time generously to enhance and improve the school for the benefit of the children. The expectations put upon them by the government however are excessive - the expectations by which they are judged have also been recently extended catching many schools out (check Ofsted reports at local secondary and Primary schools since sep 2013 for plenty of examples). Support the governors and don't make their jobs harder.

Finally, just think carefully about the inspection system that is so interchangeable from year to year. Is it really so reliable or so helpful? Inspection reports should assist schools in moving forward not devastate them? What is the aim here? Manoeuvring is all toward academy status?Why were the inspectors so harsh - for example with academic standards which generally met the 'floor standards'. The rules for inspection change with every new political fad and inspection regime and there is a growing tendency (some believe politically motive pasted) to produce reports that damage rather than scaffold and support schools. Look at Aireville?!

We are now left with a school that will likely see a decline in numbers as parents opt to go elsewhere (such is the disunity), good staff will be demoralised and may decide enough is enough and leave (who can blame them when they work so hard and get such poor rewards for their input) , children at the school will be demoralised and the fabric of staff-pupil relationships marred and parents divided and angry, confused and lacking in trust for their school. All because of a topsy turvy, inadequate inspection system that uses a sledgehammer to crack an egg when all that was ever required was an efficient school grievance procedure and a common sense approach to pupil assessment that treated cohorts of children like individuals rather than robots or tins of beans produced in a factory.
I wish to emphasise the point that Mr Thompson has proved himself on numerous occasions as evidenced through annual local authority visits and numerous Ofsted inspections. Each inspection in the past has been rigorous and demanding and he has delivered in all but this most recent one. He would not have got judgements of good or outstanding if he and his staff were not doing a sound job. Where is the loyalty for someone who has served the school so well, for so many years? I agree that each child only gets one chance and that it has to be right and I sympathise with any family who feels that their school has let them down or a decision has been made that they strongly disagree with. I also believe though that for things to get to this public level is extremely damaging. Damaging to staff morale, undermining of future discipline and behaviour/academic standards as the children will be affected by this ongoing resentment between parents and staff that they like and respect. Damaging to the schools reputation in the community... Mr Thompson is still the man for the job in my mind and he needs governing body, staff and parent support behind him.He has led the school well in the past and has the necessary integrity, conscientiousness and drive to put things right. Do you really think that changing the headteacher will solve things? I wonder which headteacher would want to be a replacement based on the fickleness shown by an inspection system where a school can be Outstanding one year and eighteen months later be considered inadequate.More than that, the moment the school hits a rough patch there is witch hunt for a scapegoat. Mr Thompson may be the headteacher but the leadership and management judgement is aimed at the governing body, subject and area coordinators - the report attacks the leadership team not the headteacher. The inspectors need to be clear about this. What a joke! The whole system is wrong. Also, how come the Local Authority, who visit St Stephens on a termly basis to look at results and scrutinise behaviour didn't pick anything up? Why do Ofsted give impressive Ofsted judgements year after year and the Authority checks suggest all is well and then suddenly change all of a sudden! Something isn't right here! For the person who says that the authority is a leading authority...well think again, it isn't anymore. The authority has seen a cull in jobs and posts formerly designed to support schools and the current Ofsted judgement for North Yorkshire reflects this. Every school or business will have a headteacher who has mishandled an incident ( if indeed he did as I do not know the specifics) and every school will have cohorts of children who do not achieve the highest grades or children who misbehave. Schools have to make do with the best tools at their disposal and those tools are limited. I am concerned that real issues that could so easily have been dealt with internally have erupted into such a damaging Ofsted Report. There is a grievance procedure for complaints about staff, including the headteacher that ultimately include the Local Authority. These 'systems' should be proficient to ensure fairness for all. Fairness for the parent or family that has a complaint and fair for the staff member in that if they have done wrong they are taken to task and if they have done nothing wrong they are exonerated. Why has it taken Her Majesty's inspectorate to take such a heavy handed response that results in decimating the entire school community! Talk about overstepping the mark! The School needs a robust system for grievance procedure and the leadership and management team needs to be redefined and all need to be clear about their roles - but do this in support and with the expertise of the headteacher. Remember that the governors are not paid to do this job either. They give up their time generously to enhance and improve the school for the benefit of the children. The expectations put upon them by the government however are excessive - the expectations by which they are judged have also been recently extended catching many schools out (check Ofsted reports at local secondary and Primary schools since sep 2013 for plenty of examples). Support the governors and don't make their jobs harder. Finally, just think carefully about the inspection system that is so interchangeable from year to year. Is it really so reliable or so helpful? Inspection reports should assist schools in moving forward not devastate them? What is the aim here? Manoeuvring is all toward academy status?Why were the inspectors so harsh - for example with academic standards which generally met the 'floor standards'. The rules for inspection change with every new political fad and inspection regime and there is a growing tendency (some believe politically motive pasted) to produce reports that damage rather than scaffold and support schools. Look at Aireville?! We are now left with a school that will likely see a decline in numbers as parents opt to go elsewhere (such is the disunity), good staff will be demoralised and may decide enough is enough and leave (who can blame them when they work so hard and get such poor rewards for their input) , children at the school will be demoralised and the fabric of staff-pupil relationships marred and parents divided and angry, confused and lacking in trust for their school. All because of a topsy turvy, inadequate inspection system that uses a sledgehammer to crack an egg when all that was ever required was an efficient school grievance procedure and a common sense approach to pupil assessment that treated cohorts of children like individuals rather than robots or tins of beans produced in a factory. Rogue Justice
  • Score: -17

12:11am Fri 25 Apr 14

Rogue Justice says...

By the way, type in Wendy Ripley Her Majesty's Inspector and you get three Craven schools appearing at the top of the list where she has been in action during the last few months alone: St Stephens, High Bentham Primary and Aireville School.

Reading through the reports I wonder if any of these schools are better off following her visit and I wonder how long it will take to rebuild these schools to be as god as can be?

What has been the long term damage and which local schools are next in the queue for a shaking up (with the shadow of ' Academy Status' looming in the background).

Watch this space.
By the way, type in Wendy Ripley Her Majesty's Inspector and you get three Craven schools appearing at the top of the list where she has been in action during the last few months alone: St Stephens, High Bentham Primary and Aireville School. Reading through the reports I wonder if any of these schools are better off following her visit and I wonder how long it will take to rebuild these schools to be as god as can be? What has been the long term damage and which local schools are next in the queue for a shaking up (with the shadow of ' Academy Status' looming in the background). Watch this space. Rogue Justice
  • Score: -11

6:24am Fri 25 Apr 14

flibbertygibbet says...

Rogue justice thank you for that your absolutely right. You have just given me the clarity I needed, we will probably convert to academy status. Following your comments that things are unlikely to change and we will convert to academy status I have applied for three other schools for my children.I have done it online via the LEA website.
Much appreciated!
Rogue justice thank you for that your absolutely right. You have just given me the clarity I needed, we will probably convert to academy status. Following your comments that things are unlikely to change and we will convert to academy status I have applied for three other schools for my children.I have done it online via the LEA website. Much appreciated! flibbertygibbet
  • Score: 4

7:38am Fri 25 Apr 14

Rogue Justice says...

Hi Fibbertygibbert

That has always been your parental choice though it would be useful for the school to have your views and opinions represented to help put things right.

Personally I like to think that the current leadership and management have the capacity and will to overcome this report and bring the school forward (particularly given the nature of the report ) but the whole school need to work together and there can be no rapid moving forward if the blame culture continues to exist.

Academy Statius is one option that seems to work for many schools and perhaps the nature of the political landscape is such that one should consider jumping rather than being pushed.

What I find alarming is that this silent revolution toward Academy Status is so underhand.
Hi Fibbertygibbert That has always been your parental choice though it would be useful for the school to have your views and opinions represented to help put things right. Personally I like to think that the current leadership and management have the capacity and will to overcome this report and bring the school forward (particularly given the nature of the report ) but the whole school need to work together and there can be no rapid moving forward if the blame culture continues to exist. Academy Statius is one option that seems to work for many schools and perhaps the nature of the political landscape is such that one should consider jumping rather than being pushed. What I find alarming is that this silent revolution toward Academy Status is so underhand. Rogue Justice
  • Score: -17

8:27am Fri 25 Apr 14

auntygove says...

Isn't that the whole crux of this discussion though; that parents' grievances are not addressed by the head? I've personally been in a position of escalating an issue to be told that I must persevere with the class teacher. The only place to go in that case is the LA, and it was a series of complaints to the LA following a lack of action by the Head that started this process.

There is no statistical evidence to suggest that schools perform better after converting to academy status, and to date only a single primary school in the whole county has gone through this process. I think the parents have made their views clear on this particular point, and I know many families who will vote with their feet if this is forced upon us. The premise that if parents don't like school decisions, then they are free to leave is both correct and as it should be, but the parents are the major stakeholders of any school, and a critical mass is required to enable to the school to continue to be viable.
Isn't that the whole crux of this discussion though; that parents' grievances are not addressed by the head? I've personally been in a position of escalating an issue to be told that I must persevere with the class teacher. The only place to go in that case is the LA, and it was a series of complaints to the LA following a lack of action by the Head that started this process. There is no statistical evidence to suggest that schools perform better after converting to academy status, and to date only a single primary school in the whole county has gone through this process. I think the parents have made their views clear on this particular point, and I know many families who will vote with their feet if this is forced upon us. The premise that if parents don't like school decisions, then they are free to leave is both correct and as it should be, but the parents are the major stakeholders of any school, and a critical mass is required to enable to the school to continue to be viable. auntygove
  • Score: 25

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