Poor old John Smeaton School. Until it started with its cavalier attitude to applying to become an academy, it did nothing wrong except be at the receiving end of two East Leeds schools’ exoduses.
When Foxwood School, late of Seacroft estate, lived, all the aspirational parents walked past us and sent their kids to Smeaton. When Foxwood, by now pointlessly renamed East Leeds, closed, all the other kids went as well. Reading the Ofsted reports before and after shows the devastating effect of that on John Smeaton.
But Smeaton picked itself up and it’s last but one report talked of good with outstanding features. This must have gone to the school’s head. Did they not see waiting in the wings the new David Young Academy throwing out all its riff raff in order to ensure its own Ofsteds improved?
So, when the YEP headline says, “’Act now’ order to failing school” [19 July 2012], it would be nice to know that the council has the overview and the power in order to be able to support the school. It would be nice if schools weren’t enticed into being [private] academies by the short –term fix that having their budget deficits paid off; it would be nice if all schools took their fair share of disadvantaged children, and it would be nice when schools who serve what we call the “inner-city” are not penalised for the disadvantage spilling into exam results.
And it would be nice if speakers on Any Questions and the like acted responsibly, and didn’t puff themselves up all indignant with the old poverty is no excuse line! Because believe me, a child who is hungry, a child from a house with no books, a child who has to share a bedroom, a child who doesn’t get relaxing holidays, a child who is abused on a regular basis – well, believe me, they tend not to achieve their academic potential. And they never will unless their disadvantages are put right.