Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Future and the Passing of Single Sex Education In Leeds

Not jumping for joy; not thrilled; City of Leeds School only got what it deserved: the rest of its life back for ever. And the knowledge that it is valued in the community. [The petition now signed by over 1000 local people asked for the school to be "saved for the Name and the great teaching experience that Children of Leeds receive"]

Now spare a thought for Leeds' only single sex school: Parklands Girls High. Given the [National] Challenge to get 30% or more GCSE A-Cs; it rose; it surpassed the challenge; it became the most improved [exam-grade-wise] school in Leeds.

But Education Leeds' eyes were already being dazzled by the lure of more cranes on the horizon. As they did with Intake [Leeds flagship performing arts college], they just ignored the strides that the school had made; and ordered a change of goalposts.

By threatening Parklands with closure Education Leeds , in one fell blow, depressed the new intake, and now decreasing popularity and an apparent lesser need for a single sex school in Leeds are added to Parklands' crimes. And, in the consultation document Education Leeds wrote, as quoted in YEP:

"but the education authority [ie Eddie Leo] said that its declining role and difficult financial situation was a challenge for sustaining progress".

At the council meeting last Wednesday, as they were agreeing to the end of Parklands Girls' High School, several councillors were concerned about whether there would be a future need for girls-only education in Leeds. The Chief Executive of Education Leeds said he would "commission a report".

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me reccommend that we save money, time, heartache and the inevitable check to the education of all of the girls presently at Parklands. Keep the school open. It is popular, successful; it has stood the test of time; it has 50 years of growth and history. And you can't just build those things.

In its report to the Council's executive board [7 April 2010], Education Leeds stated, of City of Leeds School,
" [3.3.3] The new Ofsted inspection framework has much higher expectations of scools and the school is judged to be at high risk of being placed in special measures at the next inspection"

Let us remind ourselves that City of Leeds School passed that new framework inspection on May 7th 2010. I'll leave you all to do the rest of the logic for yourselves.

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