Friday, 25 April 2008

Dunn Deal and Choice

Why can't we give parents a choice of an Academy or keeping MGS as it is?

Within a rural area – where only one school will be available for most students – we must accept the same levels of choice as in larger towns will not be available. Rather, we want to ensure parents see the proposed Academy as a significant improvement in the prospects for their children.
The aim of the academy is to bring choice and diversity. True, we have only one upper secondary now, but it is a state school. This academy does not bring choice and diversity. We have very grave concerns about certain aspects of the academy which are not clear to the public at the moment. For instance, ULT are not selecting on religious basis, but stress the need for parents (and staff) to support the ethos. Seems simple enough, the ethos is what any good school would stand for. But, will parents in (their words:) ACCEPTING a place (we have no other choice but to accept) be forced to sign a contract that makes the place conditional on not undermining the Christian approach to the running of the school? What if their version of Christianity doesn’t match the parents? What if parents of a different faith, or of “no faith” object to a particular incident, or rule or policy in the school that is at odds with their beliefs? Would that be grounds for losing the child’s place? What is ULT’s approach to RE? Do parents have the right to withdraw their children from lessons, assemblies, etc. on grounds of religion as they do now? It can get a lot more complicated than this- these are just examples to show how there may be an erosion of choice. If we lived in a town or city where there was at least 1 other secondary school, it might not be such a worrying concept for some.
The choice will be between staying where we are or seizing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the quality of provision the area deserves.
Malarky. The choice may be between getting £20+million in accepting an academy OR keeping control of our secondary education and not getting central funding now. But in not getting an academy, we don’t have to “stay where we are”.

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