Thursday, 21 February 2008

Letters to Editor-pt1. C Boxley's reply

There seemed to be an avalanche of letters to the editor of the Midhurst and Petworth Observer this week, in response to Mr Blair-Robinson's letter last week. We know of several people who sent in letters that weren't published. It maybe that there were simply too many to publish this week. Will the Observer post some more next week? If not, we will post the ones that we know about on this website.

In the meantime, here is the response from Rev. Chris Boxley, the named recipient of Blair-Robinson's scorn. The editor- for whatever reason- did not publish his letter in full. Here is all of what Rev. Boxley had to say. The coloured text is what had been cut in publication:

Dear Editor

I am delighted to respond to Malcolm Blair Robinson’s contribution to the debate about an academy for the Rother Valley.

It is supremely unnecessary to defend past teachers and pupils from the so called ‘dark days’ of the Grammar School spoken of by Mr Blair Robison in his letter to the Midhurst and Petworth Observer last week. Pupils’ and staffs’ hard work and excellent achievements speak for themselves and I know about them personally having a memory and contacts that go back over three decades, not the few months spent by Mr Blair Robinson on the Governors of MGS where he was put by WSCC when the school went into special measures. Of course one can’t possibly comment on whether being put into special measures wasn’t already part of the government agenda, willingly colluded in by WSCC, to move forward quickly its agenda on academies! It is strange how every move by WSCC since then fits very neatly into the academy framework. The unelected Lord Adonis fits into this story also, somewhere along the way.

What matters is that people like me do
believe that where local schools are concerned, being publicly owned, publicly run and publicly accountable is better than a private sponsor having enormous power and influence over the way a school is run. After all there are around 23,000 state schools and only 400 are scheduled to become academies, so the vast majority of schools are publicly owned. It is the dream of policy-starved New Labour, bewitched by anything with the words ‘business’ or ‘enterprise’, to create these academies to prove their virility in the freemarket era we live in. If only they might pay attention to a recent report by Professor Richard Pring of Oxford University published this month by the Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training, which looks at how the aims and values of education have come to be "dominated by the language of management". (BBC report, 16th February 2008 Lesson one: no Orwellian language by Mike Baker).

In the main, Mr Blair Robison’s letter has just a tinge of desperation and too much emotional subjectivity to qualify as a rational argument that vindicates what academies might have to offer.
And does he imagine that the Secretary of State for Education would tolerate a situation where there is no secondary provision north of the Downs in the Rother Valley?

Come on WSCC, show us you can provide us with a good local authority school. And come on all parents, teachers and pupils affected by the changes now and in the future, come to the NAME Campaign public meeting at Easebourne Refectory 7pm on Thursday 28th February, join in the genuine debate and offer WSCC something to think about!

Chris Boxley

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