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to want my dd's school to be forcibly turned into an academy

(68 Posts)
ReallyTired Thu 01-May-14 11:25:09

Dd's school is offically inadequate. All fun including school plays, sports days, end of term parties and her class outing have been cancelled. It is vital that these four/five year old reception children have their nose to the grind stone and learn their phonics and numeracy. Improvement is slow. Bullying is rife and most parents are unhappy.

I have seen another local school really improved by academisation. With the right sponsor academisation can work. I would like parents to be allowed to vote on an academy sponsor so that we could avoid Harris or Barnfield or some religious weirdo taking over dd's school.

Dd is trapped at her school because of lack of places in the area. Othewise I would take her out in a heartbeat. I don't want to do home education as I think the social isolation is bad for chidlren.

Mrsjayy Thu 01-May-14 11:29:59

I am not really sure what an academy well I do but we only have secondary academies up here, that sounds dreadful your poor dd how can making little children learn like like withdraw nice things make their school better it is ridiculous is there anything the parents can do Band together or something. nothing really constructive to say YANBU to want your child to go to a school that does not take away things .

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Thu 01-May-14 11:32:29

Being a good school is not all about results, and the school should realise this. Improving results will not necessarly improve the OFSTED rating. They also look for good governance and the provision of an all round education.
I suspect they won't get a satisfactory OFSTED rating if they are not providing opportunities such as taking part in plays, sports days, end of term parties and outings.

Becoming an Academy is not the solution IMO. The school needs to rethink it's processes and procedures, and how it ensures all children reach their potential (which is more important than actual results).

StanleyLambchop Thu 01-May-14 12:03:55

Agreed with Criminallawyer. How can a school improve its Ofsted rating if it is not providing a full range of enrichment activities. Children get different learning opportunities from the sort of activities that have been cancelled. A good school is not all about nose to the grind stone learning. Surely sports day is an opportunity to use skills learned in PE, school plays can do wonders for self confidence etc. I am not convinced you need to be an academy to provide these things, but YANBU to be worried and dissatisfied with the education on offer for your DD.

HeeHiles Thu 01-May-14 12:07:31

Can you get on to the Board of Governors?

nennypops Thu 01-May-14 12:20:51

YABU. You only know of one school which has been improved by turning into an academy; however, there have been many examples where the reverse has been the case. Do you seriously want your child in a school where they don't have to employ qualified teachers or follow the national curriculum? And the rate of staff turnover in academies tends to be considerably worse than it is in maintained schools.

I wouldn't necessarily take alarm at the OFSTED report (assuming that's what you mean by the school being officially inadequate) - there have been some odd findings by OFSTED recently and they themselves acknowledge that some inspectors haven't fully understood the new criteria and therefore haven't applied them properly.

Yes, this school is being ridiculous if sports days, outings etc have been cancelled - though I'm wondering whether they've just put them off until after SATs are over and done with? But the answer to that is not becoming an academy, but probably, I suspect, an overhaul of the senior management team.

twofingerstoGideon Thu 01-May-14 12:23:02

My DD's school became an academy and went into special measures six months later. Academisation is not a magical cure-all. In fact, it can be incredibly disruptive and lead to no improvement whatsoever. I speak from bitter experience.

bochead Thu 01-May-14 12:40:16

No national curriculum requirements for academies
No requirements to employ qualified teachers at academies
Profit requirements with some.
No right of appeal to the LA as an oversight body if there are issues.
The potential to become the area's special academy (where all the kids noone else wants can be sent without statements).

Ofsted ratings aren't all that - a school can be downgraded because of the presence of SN children in a year group, attendance figures, the behind the scenes political machinations to force a governing body to accept academy status and quite a few other things totally outside of teacher's direct control.

The days are long gone when an Ofsted rating could be regarded as an accurate quality assessment. Sadly the school has realised that it has to prioritise arbitary targets to the detriment of other activities in order to satisfy Ofsted. If teaching staff and time is too swamped jumping through these arbitary targets, then parents could help out by taking over the running of some afterschool or lunchtime activities.

I wouldn't be a primary school teacher under Gove for all the tea in China. It must be totally soul destroying for anyone with a genuine vocation for teaching and learning right now.

Careful what you wish for OP.

ReallyTired Thu 01-May-14 12:45:00

Dd's cousin school has been academised and its appears to be sucessful. There has been sharing of teachers and good practice. Why not allow talented heads to expand their empires and spread good practice?

If our LEA had done its job in the first place our school would not be in a category.

In fact I think problems happen with academy chains when they become too big or an academy is in splendid isolation with no one to question its decisions.

Nocomet Thu 01-May-14 12:47:54

Ok DDs are at senior school, but it also became an academy, went into SM 4 months later and became good a year after that. It's all Nonsense.

All you can do (is what our parents were fairly successful in doing) is get all the parents to complain and complain and complain about the stopping of fun.

Our Ex HT very nearly had a riot (parents and pupils) about cancelling something that has gone on for years.

devoniandarling Thu 01-May-14 12:53:48

You do realise that a lot of academies are now losing the status, and the funding that goes with it? Many academies are failing.

ReallyTired Thu 01-May-14 12:59:06

My children's school wasn't broke until it failed a Mocksted and the head resigned. The LEA and the new has broken the school. They failed their true OFSTED at the begining of the academic year.

Everything is targets and SATs. The school has been devoid of basic compassion. I am sceptical that an academy could make the school worse than it actually is.

I feel that OFSTED should look at wider opportunities in a school. Good SAT results are not enough.

ilovesooty Thu 01-May-14 13:01:12

Yes I'm sure it will be great to have another academy. Yet another of Gove's institutions where they don't have to employ qualified teachers, unions aren't recognised and there is no protection for pay and conditions. Knock yourself out.

You have no idea whatsoever whether academisation would effect an improvement.

ReallyTired Thu 01-May-14 13:07:19

LEA schools employ unqualified teachers. They have done so for years.

There is no point in having a national curriculum if discipline is so poor that it becomes impossible to teach anything. Sometimes not being bound by the national curriuculum is a good thing. For example one academy puts its pupils in fo GCSE ICT in year 6.

You have no idea whatsoever whether academisation would effect an improvement."

Having the LEA running dd's school hasn't worked.

ilovesooty Thu 01-May-14 13:19:30

So how is academisation going to magically improve discipline then?

You're not bothered about unqualified practitioners "teaching" your daughter?

You actually think entering year 6 pupils for GCSE is a good thing? I thought you objected to schools being target driven?

Oh and my point about unions and conditions stands. You want your daughter taught by people with no job security whatsoever?

Peekingduck Thu 01-May-14 13:29:36

I can speak from experience, particularly in one LA. They tend to be very stretched for resources, but when a school goes "into category" after an Ofsted inspection it goes up the priority list and becomes the focus for all sorts of LA support and funding. LA officers, other schools, other governing bodies, outside agencies - all might become involved in the process of turning the school around.
Meanwhile, because of Government policy, the school governors have no choice but to agree to academy conversion. By this point there may be very few, or none at all, of the original governing body left. This is because if a school fails then it is deemed to be a failure of governance, ultimately the responsibility for a school doing badly lies with the governors. They might resign, be "encouraged" to resign, be removed. In some cases an Interim Executive Board will be put in place to oversee the school's improvement and conversion to academy. The chosen academy sponsor may also have staff in the school.
The LA doesn't "run" schools these days. Legally the governing body does. The LA has a monitoring and supporting role but the reality is that, with dwindling resources and flexibility (partly due to schools converting to academies) LA officers have to prioritise and put most effort into the schools in most need. A lot of people, including school governors, don't realise just how responsible they are for ensuring that their school is doing right by the children in it. It is up to them to be aware of failings and areas needing improvement and to make sure they are sorted.
The overall effect of this is that to the outside world it often looks as if academy conversion has been the reason for improvement. In reality the foundations of the change have been put in place before conversion by the LA. HMI will be back in that failing school within weeks and expect to see changes and then visiting periodically before the next full inspection. So of course improvement happens before the academy sponsors take over. It does tend to look as if they have ridden in on white chargers and saved the day though.

devoniandarling Thu 01-May-14 13:53:15

Why would you want y6 pupils taking GCSEs? Hot housing children is what you just said you didn't like wrt SATS!

Stripyhoglets Thu 01-May-14 13:59:04

Ofsted have just put my DS school into special measures! It's a great school, lovely staff but some problems with a larger intake of children needing support than average. But the school is still great, ofsted clearly thought not. I used to take some notice of ofsted, not any more! I was really worried they would be forced to become an academy but they are not. (Phew)

SteadyEddie Thu 01-May-14 14:02:09

What is the point in starting this thread, when you have already made up your mind?

nennypops Thu 01-May-14 14:03:13

Why not allow talented heads to expand their empires and spread good practice?

There is nothing to stop talented heads of maintained spreading good practice, and in fact they do so every day. I wouldn't want a talented head to expand his empire, because in my experience there is no surer way of diluting his expertise, turning him into an administrator, or pushing him into burnout.

LEA schools employ unqualified teachers. They have done so for years.

No, they don't. They employ teaching assistants, but they are supervised by teachers and do not have class and subject responsibilities.

There is no point in having a national curriculum if discipline is so poor that it becomes impossible to teach anything.

Sure, but there is no evidence that becoming an academy has any effect on discipline. In fact, the various academies that have gone into special measures demonstrate that there is no correlation whatsoever.

Having the LEA running dd's school hasn't worked.

There is no such thing as an LEA any more - and that's not just a technicality, because maintained schools are run by the governors. There are plenty of extremely successful maintained schools, so you can't claim that that is the reason for failure in this case.

nennypops Thu 01-May-14 14:08:45

It's worth noting that the borough which consistently comes at or near to the top of league tables in primary school results, Richmond, only has one primary school that has become an academy, and that was only recent and therefore has nothing to do with past results. The school in question was forced into becoming an academy after failing an Ofsted inspection, but there were concerns about the inspection and there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the LA could not have turned round any problems without going down the academy route.

TheoneFKAMNwidowed Thu 01-May-14 14:15:38

Infuriates me when people think taking children out of school reduces their socialisation skills. Do you seriously think their skills are improved in a classroom where you are not allowed to speak or at best were it is massively restricted. Anyway if that is your only concern the socialisation part, then you should do some homework and see if there are groups etc in your area. The best thing about home ed is your timetable can be different from schools, you're not confined to books at the table all day, you're able to go out and investigate things. Its a brilliant education tool, one that schools would do but simply can't afford to send kids off here,there and everywhere.

tobysmum77 Thu 01-May-14 14:29:00

op it is impossible to know what the situation is for your dd's school. We are in a very similar situation although it sounds a lot better for the children.

A lot of academies that have failed are converters.

It depends on how effective the la is also.

Happy to discuss further if you pm me. yanbu I don't suppose many of the respondents here have dc at a school in sm. I couldn't give a toss about Gove and politics tbh just want the best for my child as they would in the same situation.

Peekingduck Thu 01-May-14 18:52:31

Academies, even those that converted as "Outstanding" schools, are relatively new. Watch and wait is what I say. We're already starting to see that academy conversion is no guarantee that a school will be excellent. A lot of the original convertors haven't been through Ofsted since.
Oh, and being a governor in an academy is a high-responsibility task, even more so than in a maintained schools. A lot of the governors I've met are simply not up to the job, but they don't realise it. Yet.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 01-May-14 19:06:43

My DD's school is officially a bundle of shite according to Ofsted. They are merely Inadequate rather than in Special Measures. Strangely enough they are the only Upper/Secondary school in the area not to be or about to be, an Academy.

The Ofsted report is the biggest load of rubbish I have read in a fair while. Personally I hope they manage to not become an Academy and the Head is determined to go to court over the Ofsted if needs be, with the full support of pretty much every parent. I have absolutely no faith in Ofsted, Academies or Gove and his mates at the moment and feel my DC's are just political footballs.

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