Nearly five hundred people came to City of Leeds High School, Woodhouse Cliff, inner-city Leeds on March 27th 2003 to hear a representative from Education Leeds tell a packed hall of this several hundred somewhat irritated parents and local residents that noone was choosing this school to send their children to. Several hundred angry parents and local residents opined otherwise.
Of course at this time parents were choosing their children's high schools. The successful Ofsted that previous February stopped this attempt at closure in its tracks, but not before a few families wobbled and went for sending their children out of the area.
Nearly five hundred people came to City of Leeds High School, Woodhouse Cliff, inner-city Leeds on February 10th 2010 to hear a representative from Education Leeds tell a packed hall of several hundred somewhat irritated parents and local residents that noone was choosing this school for their children. Several hundred angry parents and local residents opined otherwise
Of course at this time parents are choosing their children's high schools. After the successful Ofsted of summer 2009 City of Leeds the school was back on the up, but our low place in the infamous league tables rendered us vulnerable again. And threat of closure! Like shooting fish in a barrel for our not so heroes.
In the intervening years between these two attempts at closure, Education Leeds, like a cat deprived of its prey, hung around the mouse hole that was City of Leeds School, waiting for a second chance to dispatch its intended victim. No chances arising, the company invented some of its own.
Like writing in a consultation document that the school would "probably" not pass an Ofsted inspection with its "higher expectations". On what grounds do they write this stuff?
[It must be said it paused briefly in its onslaught against this plucky little school in order to support the federation with Primrose, but when this didn't raise exam grades at a stroke, it went back to thinking aloud in the press. And unhelpful comments like "the Federation isn't working" appeared as headlines in the Yorkshire Evening Post. This wasn't based on research or evidence, just thinking aloud, again.]
So, here we have two major Ofsted inspections six years apart: February 2003 and July 2009. These inspections on their own would boosted confidence in City of Leeds School. However they coincided with two money-swilling, time-wasting, morale-lowering consultations to close the school.
We are running out of high schools in Leeds. In order to accomodate all the children that they want to send to Lawnswood School, Carr Manor School and the rest, these schools would need to be enlarged. And what would their parents think? Some parents have already had a think. And now there are children who used to be able to walk to Lawnswood taking the bus to Prince Henry's, Otley.
In the consultation document it says that: "Pupils will transfer to other schools or academies as far possible in accordance with the wishes of parents and for which additional places may need to be created."
Clearly, parents' wishes come very low down the list of priorities. And really, why would any parent want their child to leave a successful school to one in Special measures, or with Notice to Improve?
PS: Sorry about the mixed cat/mouse/fish metaphors.