Monday 3 October 2011

Kingsbury High Governors ignore parents request for a ballot

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Kingsbury High School Parents Action Group

PRESS RELEASE

30.9.11

KINGSBURY HIGH SCHOOL GOVERNORS GIVEN FALSE INFORMATION BEFORE ACADEMY VOTE

Governors at Kingsbury High School voted last night to go ahead with their application to convert to academy status despite the clear wishes of the majority of their stakeholders, i.e. parents, staff, pupils and local community groups.

Governors were furnished with skewed and incorrect figures by one Parent Governor who insisted that only 4 parents had requested a secret YES/NO ballot into conversion. The Headteacher stood by and listened, despite being present himself at earlier so-called “consultation” meetings where he had witnessed unanimous votes by parents asking for a ballot and expressing their wish that the school should not become an academy.

Pupils at the school were said to be 75% in favour of conversion, but this resulted from a show of hands of a very limited number of them after yet another biased meeting where only the Headteacher gave his one-sided view. At a previous pupil meeting only a few days before the vote went the other way after a more balanced debate not led by the Headteacher.

The Parent Governor went on to say that only 6% of parents had returned a survey sent out to them. He said that he saw this as meaning that the parents wanted the governors alone to make the decision. In fact, the low return rate was a result of a boycott organised by the Parents Action Group, who recognised that the survey was full of leading questions. One parent, who is also a teacher, pointed out that his 9 year old pupils would have been able to see through it!

Parents were forced to take a day off from work yesterday as teachers at the school took industrial action, which they had offered to call off if the school agreed to a ballot of parents. Despite the Headteacher and Chair of Governors admitting that no damage would be done by a ballot, they refused once again to hold one, instead choosing to close the school completely and give their non-striking staff a day off in the sunshine with full pay! Almost 2000 students, including those on GCSE and ‘A’ Level courses, lost a day of their education due to the continued intransigence of the school management.

After the failure of Parent and Staff Representative Governors to show regard to their electorate’s wishes last night, there is now talk of a vote of no confidence. The school has only to grant the parents their often stated wish for the secret ballot to avoid the school going further down the path of disruption and division. Parents have stated that the campaign goes on with increasing vigour despite last night’s vote.

 

Dave Cooper

Kingsbury High School Parents Action Group

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12 comments

  1. Mr Webster said:

    I am glad the school has voted in favour, you guys did wrong by striking and holding the school to ransom. I sincerely hope you will accept the decision and let the school move on, if you don’t like it you know where the door is, walk away and leave your narrow minded views where they belong, in the past.

    5 October 2011 at 3:14pm
  2. Jane said:

    Presumably, Mr Webster, you don’t believe in democracy. Is it really right that a publicly owned and state funded organisation should be handed over to a small group of people who ignore the wishes of the stakeholders? Does that really bode well for the future of the school?

    The major political parties all argue for “parental choice” in education but are pushing through policies which ignore parental wishes. Most recently the removal of the requirement to consult.

    5 October 2011 at 3:26pm
  3. Maclaren said:

    Mr Webster, teachers went on strike because they believed that the move to an academy would be detremental to the education and well being of pupils at the school, as well as defending future risks to their jobs. Teachers belong to a vocational profession whose primary care is their pupils. They were exercising their democratic right to express their views and beliefs, not holding the school to ransome. Mr Webster, I cannot think of anything more open minded than democracy and it is because of this that we deserve the right to have our views heard rather than be overlooked by the governors.

    5 October 2011 at 4:53pm
  4. Gerry German said:

    Schools should be rooted in their communities with govening bodies, staff, parents associations and students councils fully representative of and genuinely accountable to their constituences. They need to accessible to everybody, inclusive and integrated in such a way that needs can be met and potentials fulfilled in all their variety. Individualised curricula and methodologies need to be developed to encourage self-development, self-discipline, good relations, sense of the occasion and cooperation rather than divisive competition aimed at maintaining class divisions through selection, rejection and school exclusions in particular. We really need to consider ways of getting rid of setting/streaming and grading as an obstacle to encouraging all our children to touch the stars. Free schools and Academies are almost exclusively a way of promoting apartheid in English schooling. Just consider how many of our children are excluded from school, how many don’t gain admission to schools of their choice, how many have their special needs assessments delayed and not properly catered for, how many children drop out of school permanently, and how for so many under-achievement seems built into the system. Schools need to be comprehensive.

    7 October 2011 at 1:07pm
  5. Andrea Wilson said:

    A democratic governing body voted to convert to Academy status. Just because you did not get the result you wanted does not mean it was not democratic.
    Gerry German wants to get rid of all setting and streaming. Can you explain how this would improve any standards ?
    I am a secondary school Maths teacher of 20 years. We achieve excellent results in a comprehensive school with 83% of our pupils attaining GCSE C grade and above. This is achieved by very tight setting.
    Gerry has obviously never taught mixed ability classes Maths as it is nigh on impossible and the results are disastrous. Of course if Gerry could explain how one would teach children from lower sets who struggle with multiplication and division at the same time as the pupils from top set who are learning calculus and get great results I would be very interested.

    7 October 2011 at 7:23pm
  6. Jane said:

    Andrea: actually you are not correct. In my opinion it is likely that Maths is the one subject which must be learned individually. In setting, the temptation is to class teach which, research showed, could mean that those at the bottom of the top set do less well than those at the top of the second set.

    I taught mixed ability Maths for years – very successfully. It is a question of having the right materials and structure.

    The Governors decision may have involved the Governors but that does not make it democratic – how many of them were really democratically elected? Very few, I would guess.

    7 October 2011 at 7:32pm
  7. Andrea Wilson said:

    Jane – you are wrong.
    Did you teach Maths to secondary school pupils ? If yes explain how you would teach a class of 30 mixed ability children with lower end of ability unable to do multiply and divide, understand how fractions can also be multiplied and divided whilst trying to teach, for example, quadratic equations.
    With sets everyone moves forward. I should note I teach all levels of sets and have also taught in poorly performing schools and taken mixed ability classes. results across a year improved dramatically when year groups were setted. we had those struggling in small set sizes and those gifted in Maths in class sizes of over 30.
    What research has ever showed mixed ability teaching is better in Maths than setting – there is none.

    Most state schools have a governing body to set the strategic direction of the school together with the head. why groups like the anti academy socialist worker group want to interfere is beyond me. They are anti democratic !

    8 October 2011 at 3:02pm
  8. Jane said:

    Yes I did teach secondary to “A” Level, but this is highjacking the debate. I’m not sure why this anger – why be abusive about a request for a full public debate and properly run ballot? Arguments are not won by throwing mud at the opposing viewpoint – that is just bullying.

    Where are the arguments in favour of conversion? Conversion at this time is a huge, reckless risk given that the DfE was warning that the method of funding the academies was unsustainable (this has now been removed from its website); the fact that some schools which converted are not getting the money they thought they would; and that some are finding they have having to pay more for services than they did via the local authority.

    8 October 2011 at 3:37pm
  9. Andrea Wilson said:

    The anger comes from those against Academies. All political parties support conversion to academies. This is certainly now the case of Labour with the appointment of Twigg who is a firm believer in more autonomy for all schools.
    At secondary level the argument for conversion to Academy status has now been won. The minority of lefty dinosaurs who care little for children and their education but stand against progress face extinction.

    Encouraging teachers to strike over this illustrates your desperation.

    8 October 2011 at 3:48pm
  10. Jane said:

    I’m sorry but this does not give rational reasons.

    8 October 2011 at 4:40pm
  11. Andrea Wilson said:

    An NUT survey found the majority of parents supported academies and free schools. The OECD said that Academies and Free Schools were likely to lead to improvement in state schooling in the UK. The London School of Economics report concluded that not only did academies improve the performance of their pupils the surrounding schools also improved their results.
    I could go on but the Anti Academy are against change, improvement, better outcomes for all pupils, against high performing local schools etc etc.
    Keeping the status quo in education is in no interests but those who work for unions and their affiliates.

    8 October 2011 at 4:59pm
  12. RD said:

    Jane – what planet does Andrea live on??? Carefully worded questionnaires will always give the author the result that ‘they’ want (not rocket science) and one shouldn’t always believe what is in print as it is mostly for propaganda purposes anyway. Academies are not the way forward – this ‘Government’ of ours is trying to put something into place that is unsustainable – this world is in a mess due to bad management and unsustainability – they can’t play around with children’s learning – children are our future as Whitney Houston once sang! Andrea talks about mixed ability teaching? It’s how we mostly do it in primary schools – setting only encourages the very high achievers and the SEN/low BA to improve. What about the majority of children in the middle? I am proud to be a Headteacher in a county that is opposing the DfE all the way in their determination for quick fixes and glory making. I have never written on anything like this before as I am not biased towards politics – I am solely biased towards ‘how children learn best’ and that just cannot be in a forced Academy scenario. Please wake up Andrea! Is your school an Academy (or working towards) or are you in an Ofsted ‘satisfactory’ school that is feeling vulnerable?

    9 October 2011 at 5:08am