Monday, 13 February 2012

Green Lane's grass really was as green as it was going to get

The headline for the Yorkshire Evening Post in February said:

PIONEER SCHOOL CUTS SHOCK

The article explained the funding error [it was erroneously given £117,000 - Hey, anyone can make a mistake!], and that "it plans to balance the budget by axing . . seven teaching assistant posts". I wrote the following letter:

6 Feb 2012 letter re Green Lane Primary Academy [printed in YEP 13 Feb]

I find it intriguing that Gove and co would let this propaganda disaster get away: that the extra money given to an academy was a miscalculation, and £117, 000 has to be given back, at the probably expense of seven teaching assistants’ jobs.

The YEP article [Jan 2012] describes Garforth Green Lane as “trailblazing”. It’s not how I would describe the first primary school in Leeds to take the thirty pieces of silver. At our meeting in the WMC in Garforth a couple of years ago, the parents of Green Lane made it clear that they were only in it [academisation that is] for their own school, and for their own kids.

Well, neither parenting nor governance is a paid job. Quite the reverse. Governor training is random and non-compulsory. Parentcraft seems to have missed its slot in the National Curriculum. [One minute you’re walking down the aisle the next minute you’re at a parents’ evening. How did that happen?]

Governors, especially parent-governors do not generally have the time nor the expertise to explore options thoroughly; parents are programmed to care for their own. A little power can be dangerous and go to some people’s heads. And in Michael Gove’s case [he who is the cause of all this upset and misery], a lot of power is a nuclear explosion of a disaster.

The “school source” was quoted as saying that “they were told that becoming an academy was the right thing to do but it seems the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” It is so sad. The point is that the grass is never greener. And actually a group of us, anti-academies campaigners, union-members, and general do-gooders give up hours of our own time week after week, working hard to explain all the facts to prospective academeers. And we tell people that becoming an academy is the wrong thing to do.

And so sadly for Green Lane, as it always is, it was a small group of people who think they know best taking their school away from the support of the local authority, and not, as Govey and co would have you believe, taking them out of the control of the local authority.

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