Friday, 25 April 2008

Dunn Deal and the Future

If the education system stays as it is in the Rother Valley, how do you envisage the system being in five/ten years' time?

There is a significant risk that the rolls of smaller schools, both primary and secondary, will continue to fall. This would place pressure upon the facilities and resources at Midhurst Grammar such that the demands on staff will increase and the confidence and support of the local community will be tested. In such circumstances we may struggle to sustain, let alone improve further, current standards and performance, even with the huge commitment of school managers and staff to build upon recent achievements.
The confidence and support of the local community have been sorely tested by the handling of this consultation exercise. We have heard of many people ready to jump ship (or who have already) not just because of the change, but because it has been so badly done. There are parents and staff who do not trust the Authority and the promises given. This is a terrible situation to be put in. When MGS went into Special Measures, there were problems with parental choice; we’re not denying that. But it’s doing well, and can recover if given the chance. The LA did not support MGS in the first place and are now making matters so much worse. The school is hundreds of years old and one blip on the radar has made it vulnerable, which is very unfair. The school and the system should be given support, encouragement and time to prove themselves.

The three-tier system, with intermediate schools, has its very real strengths, of course, but it is increasingly costly to protect and not sufficiently popular with local parents, a significant proportion of whom still send their children out of the local catchment area or choose the private school option.
The intermediate schooling is popular- their rolls may have fallen recently here- but that hasn’t been given a chance to recover. Furthermore, I know of many people who supported the age-of-transfer change, but thought it just meant changing at the end of Year 6 in line with neighbouring authorities. They had no idea that it meant an abolition of MIS/HSS and they certainly had no idea whatsover that doing so would lead to an academy and this chaos.

The county council wishes to help schools to rejuvenate educational provision in the Rother Valley. We are tackling the age of transfer challenge and have proposed that a single secondary school is created to achieve a truly world class education for all young people aged 11 to 18 in the area.
IS WEST SUSSEX NOT ABLE TO DO THIS WITHOUT AN ACADEMY? Despite their dire approach to education in the Rother Valley recently, we think that there are talented and commited professionals in West Sussex who could make our school world-class. Robbing Peter to pay Paul (central government £, still taxpayers’) may bring quick cash, but if there was no academy option, surely there would be possibilities for “rejuvenation” and age-of-transfer change.

No comments: