It's extreme gigging this weekend. Just off to play at Bradford Mela. In the meantime here's one I wrote earlier. It's my second letter of objection to the proposed closure of Parklands School.
Objection to the proposed closure of Parklands Girls High School
My objections are threefold:
A city the size of Leeds should have two single sex schools. We should have not have given up Braimwood so easily; we most certainly should not lose the girls’ school. At 700 it is a healthy size, and this despite repeated threats of closure from the very firm who should be protecting and championing it. Apart from the arguments that concern girls being able to achieve better without hormonal distractions [I’m simplifying the argument here], there should be a single-sex school for families from some different cultures to send their girls to. One Muslim parent at the consultation meeting told us that he choose Leeds over other towns when deciding what university he would work at because of Parklands – not just girls only, but a good school.
This brings me to the second point. Set the [National] challenge of 30%A-Cs, Parklands pulled itself together and achieved well over this. So, nothing wrong with the school. No reason to close it. The numbers are only down because of public criticisms and threats of closure.
Thirdly, there are arguments that a single sex school would be better placed in the city centre. This is just a distraction. Children are bussed and driven in cars all over this city to get to church schools, or specialist schools, or preferred schools.
There were also two other arguments put forward at the meeting from the representative from Education Leeds.
1. that the government would only fund the new building if it became an academy [whether or 700 present girls’ families liked it or not, and the same for the families of the future].
2. That there wasn’t enough provision in East Leeds for all the children of East Leeds.
This was said just months before they finally pulled down the old Foxwood building, and a few years after they closed Braimwood and Agnes Stewart [incredibly merging a single-sex state school with a mixed sex church school, and even more incredibly getting away with it].
My suggestion is that the council builds a single sex boys school on the old Foxwood site, and gets it designed by anybody other than the architectural criminals who put up Lawnswood, Swallow Hill, South Leeds and Primrose [and the rest!].
Victoria Jaquiss FRSA, teacher, parent, writer, school governor