Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Chickens Will come home to roost

I filled in the consultation papers yesterday. Well, I emailed in my views. One question was Have you found this booklet useful?. What an odd question.

Useful? In what sense? Did it enlighten me into believing suddenly that City Of Leeds was indeed a rubbish school; that my two children's 8 or 9 A-Cs was a fantasy; that the National Festival of Music For Youth only asked the Sparrows to play at the Royal Albert Hall because they felt sorry for us. No, not really. I still believe that, for those that can, excellence is there for the taking.

Standards they say, are low compared to similar schools, but they don't name any. And this is what the document is like, all the woolly way through: not rigorous enough: a series of un-researched, unsubstantiated statements, in a rather pathetic, half-hearted attempt to justity the death, the killing of a school.

After they have killed the school, and made the staff "potentially redundant" [I opined that "sacked" was the word they were looking for.] the children would be divided up, goodness knows on what basis, between five other schools, and to, wait for this:

1. Lawnswood School- presently in Special Measures, children already leaving it for Prince Henry's, rather than be educated with the ex-City kids. Reminds me of of the kids deserting John Smeaton once Foxwood closed [and how Smeaton spent years getting over this]
2. Primrose Academy -doesn't exist, and has no capacity, being a PFI school, and over-subscribed as it is.
3. Parklands Academy - presently doesn't exist,
4. South Leeds Academy - children cross Leeds already to come to City of Leeds in order to avoid this school, just as children leave Woodhouse to avoid City. It's a funny old world, eh?
5. Carr Manor - has its problems.

Two years ago, I would not have said a cross word against any other Leeds school. It would be unprofessional. But now it's a question of life and death.

But actually, in a professional world, an education company would have evaluated other school closures before jumping straight into any other ones. There is so much doubt and public debate about the efficacy of academies. Research by Price/Waterhouse/Cooper [and they are nicely private sector] has concluded that there is no evidence that acamedies per se raise standards. And I would think that that would be the end of it. Our very own David Young Academy is in the "National Challenge" cohort. And that's just the first chicken.

It's an almost indecent rush to get these three last Leeds schools signed off local accountability and into either academisation or no-man's-land before the real effects of closure and merger has been evaluated at Leeds West [that's Intake to you and me], South Leeds, David Young Academy and Swallow Hill [that's West Leeds and Wortley to you and me]. And it's not the effects on results, or standards, as Eddie and Vern would call them, but the effects on the children of all inner-city schools as they force feed them these quickfit GCSEs which give the child the grade which s/he in turn gives the school's score board, but at what cost to the child's real education!

The chickens are hovering; it's not a pretty sight, and they will come home . .

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