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Roke School - forced primary academy

(118 Posts)
yellowsubmarine53 Wed 16-Jan-13 14:48:44

Yesterday's Guardian....

Forcing primary schools to become sponsored academies is...

a) a well-thoughtful strategy to improve standards in schools which have been under performing for years and lack the necessary leadership and direction with which to improve

b) a way to hand as many public assets as possible over to corporate academy chains as quickly as possible. Being a Tory peer, Tory party donor and friend of David Cameron gives you a natural advantage in benefiting from this situation.

The DfE say a). What do others think?

sleepylampost Tue 29-Jan-13 22:11:59

Just because something is legal, it does not mean it is not corrupt.

yellowsubmarine53 Tue 29-Jan-13 22:22:58

That's a correct description of the process prh, but the Roke situation has been somewhat accelerated by the DfE and the 'concern' about the school seems somewhat disproportionate to what's actually happening there (improving, according to Ofsted).

prh47bridge Tue 29-Jan-13 22:46:50

I agree there are reasons to be concerned about the way DfE seem to be handling the situation. I just don't think this is one of them.

bexa Wed 30-Jan-13 18:11:14

It's totally disproportionate. As far as I'm aware the parents didn't even thing there were any problems at the school. Academy system I can understand for a school that has failed year on year, but Roke is a school that just had a blip. It's nuts to hand it over. OK, Harris might not be making any profit at the moment, but as soon as the rules change and Academies can start to be run for profit, do you really think he will still run it as a charity?

prh47bridge Wed 30-Jan-13 22:37:17

Yes, I do. He has given a lot of money to community schools in south London as well as the money he has pumped in to the Harris Federation. All he will ever get back from the community schools is that some of them now bear his name, as does a college in the University of Oxford to which he gave money. I may be wrong but Lord Harris appears to be a philanthropist with a particular interest in education.

bexa Thu 31-Jan-13 09:19:21

Maybe but in my view true philanthropy does not ask for the credit of having their name above the door. That to me shows an ego.

prh47bridge Thu 31-Jan-13 09:46:38

I have sympathy with that viewpoint, although a lot of wealthy philanthropists do this. But then most wealthy people I have met do indeed have big egos!

I see the Ofsted report from the recent Section 8 inspection has now been published. To get a negative out of the way first, we can now see that the snippet used by the Save Roke website to suggest that "satisfactory" was the highest possible rating was only part of a sentence. It comes in a section that is talking about a new staffing structure and says, "Because the new structure did not come into effect until September 2012, it is too early to measure the impact of some of the new initiatives." I don't think that supports the conclusion Save Roke attempts to draw.

On a more positive front, the report does show a lot of actions being taken by the school to improve itself. It also suggests that the school and the governors are not being defensive - they have accepted that improvements are required and that they still need to do more.

Clearly a better rating than "satisfactory" would have been useful. However, as I have said previously, the most likely way to win the campaign is to persuade the DfE to change course and the positive comments in this report are certainly helpful in that regard. The fact the DfE say no final decision has yet been made suggests that change may be possible.

bexa Thu 31-Jan-13 18:11:03

"But then most wealthy people I have met do indeed have big egos!"

Exactly! To be as wealthy as Harris you generally have to be a greedy person, happy to trample on others to make your money, and have a big ego. Do we really want people like this running our children's education?? Profit or no profit!

bexa Thu 31-Jan-13 18:15:53

To be honest, the most effective way of winning the save roke campaign is to court the media! Get the story back in the news. This is the only way to get the DfE to take notice. Get the school taking part in direct action. Give the papers and news crews something to film and write about. It's no good just saying 'parents are unhappy', that story has been run. I suggest a sit in. Or get the kids their uniform down to Carpet Right and stage a flash mob school lunch there! Sit them down on the rolls of carpet with their lunch boxes. It would be hilarious and really make a big point! What news station is going to ignore 100 kids having a flash mob lunch in Carpet Right!

prh47bridge Thu 31-Jan-13 21:43:46

Personally I'm quite happy with Lord Harris' involvement since, as far as I can see, he leaves the education bit to experts but I know others may not agree.

Getting the story in the news can help but it can also lead to positions becoming entrenched.

bexa Fri 01-Feb-13 16:53:56

I think the issue here may not be whether you believe in Academies per se. Or even whether you agree with Harris running schools. It's perhaps an issue of how bad a school has to be before it is put into academy status. Roke does not sound like a failing school at all. Surely the DfE should be putting their energy where it is genuinely needed. Or at the very least the Academy process should be more open and democratic with a greater period of consultation.

sleepylampost Fri 01-Feb-13 22:20:25

Bexa You have hit the nail on the head.

bexa Sun 03-Feb-13 21:10:28

Anyone know the latest on the Roke school situation? Is the academy takeover still going ahead?

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 04-Feb-13 10:05:10

If the governing body agreed to it before Christmas, as seems to be the case, it's pretty much a done deal, I would say.

Who knows what shady goings on between the DfE, LA, the Harris Federation and the governing body haven been happening behind closed doors over the last few months?

yellowsubmarine53 Tue 05-Feb-13 21:04:58

Have only skim read this blog. Warwick Mansell is a respected education journo.

sleepylampost Sat 09-Feb-13 22:30:38

Now we know we weren't imagining it. Tories are planning to run academies for profit.

This is diabolical.

Dentvincent Tue 12-Feb-13 14:39:14

have just seen this revealing film about forced academisation and Downhills parents campaign -

It is really scary the lengths that the government will go to strong arm local communities into going down a route that no one wants - if this allowed to continue what will the future of our children education and our children's children education going to be like. Scary.

hunterm Sun 17-Mar-13 23:39:14

When Ofsted announced last June that Roke Primary School was given a 'Notice to Improve' there was uproar and parents wanted answers..... and some even blood.
And now nearly a year on when finally someone is going to go in and take the bull by the horns and get Roke back to where it was (like back in the days of the old head) parents are still not happy !!!

The Harris Federation are going to put Roke back where it should be, at the top (where it was) by supporting the staff, leading the staff and mainly by doing what is best for the children !!!!!! Remember those little people that attend each day.

Harris Secondary Schools are over subscribed so they don't need the children from Roke to go there after, they've confirmed Riddlesdown will continue to be the feeder school if that's what the children/parents want.

SAT's results have been falling slowly each year...... what has been done ?
Teachers have been leaving / will leave ... what is being done ?
Children are going elsewhere.... why ?

Don't delay any longer, let Harris take over Roke and put it back to where it was. Think about the affect all this 'Save Roke Campaign' is having on the children and even possibly the staff.
I doubt it can get any worse, but with them it can get a whole lot better....

As for Riddlesdown, they have only just themselves become an academy. They aren't in a position to offer full-time support that is clearly needed.

Roke needs a new leader...... a strong leader and they need it now !

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