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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?

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 !

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.

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.

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

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

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?

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

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

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

Bexa You have hit the nail on the head.

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.

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 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!

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!

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 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 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 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 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.

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).

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

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

prh47bridge Tue 29-Jan-13 18:03:24

Don't know why you've posted this on multiple threads. If you are referring to this then yes, I saw it. It doesn't tell us anything new.

Note that the words attributed to the DfE are what the chair of the governors told parents the DFE said and not necessarily a verbatim account. It amounts to the DfE telling the governors that if they don't co-operate the DfE will appoint an IEB to replace them. You can describe that as a threat if you want but it is a straightforward statement of the process as it has been for years. If the governors of a school causing concern refuse to co-operate with the LA's plans or, if the DfE get involved, the DfE's plans they are likely to be replaced with an IEB. That applies regardless of whether the plans are academy conversion or something else.

bexa Tue 29-Jan-13 17:40:25

Anyone see the Guardian piece yesterday with the latest from Roke School. Can't believe governers were threatened with sack! Outrageous. Yet more evidence of dodgy dealings I say. Really needs an investigative journo to dig deep as I bet there is loads more of this sort of corruption going on.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 27-Jan-13 17:50:34

prh, yes I think that the particular faith which the school has associated has made the situation more delicate than it might have been, but still as you say no reason for so many years with no intervention. There is currently a LA run consultation about closing the school so we shall see.

admission exactly. This is the kind of school that Gove should have been targetting (in addition to the LA and Ofsted). The fact that the DfE have chosen to pick on schools like Roke and do nothing about this one make it very, very difficult to understand how the academy agenda can be about 'improving standards.'

admission Sun 27-Jan-13 15:10:00

I share PRB's concerns that this school has been a basket case for much longer than it should have been allowed to be.
The pupils in this school have been let down by everybody directly concerned but also by those that should have been making sure that this school did make major improvements. I question why the LA, Ofsted and the DfE have not taken action years ago.
This is a good example of the kind of school that Gove should have been targeting as a priority to shut / academise or shut.

prh47bridge Sun 27-Jan-13 14:30:43

sleepylampost - I want to see the report rather than the minute extract on the Save Roke website before commenting directly on it. There is certainly nothing in Ofsted's guidance on Notice to Improve inspections that says a rating better than satisfactory is not possible in this timescale and I'm pretty sure I have seen some schools achieve that. The website seems to have drawn the conclusion that "satisfactory" was the best rating available from a comment that "it is too early to measure the impact of some new initiatives". To play devil's advocate for a moment (so I'm not saying this is what I believe or that it is correct) another way of interpreting that would be to say they might have achieved "good" or better if the new initiatives had been started earlier and were now producing measurable results.

yellowsubmarine53 - I am appalled. A school should not be allowed to continue like this for this length of time. Bluntly it should have been closed or converted by now. I don't know if the particular faith with which the school is associated has led to nervousness about possible accusations of discrimination but, whatever the reason, it is not good enough. The governors, leadership team, Haringey, DCSF, DfE, this government and the previous government have all failed this school. I see that it now faces closure this summer or, if the church has its way, conversion to a sponsored academy so something is finally being done but it is far too late. I hope that the disagreement about what action should be taken will not delay action any further.

Looking at the various Ofsted reports, it seems an IEB was appointed in 2008 or 2009 after initial unsatisfactory progress after being placed on Notice to Improve in 2007, although there is no longer an IEB in place. The school went into special measures in 2009. I would seriously question the Section 8 inspections in 2010/11 - they all show the school making satisfactory progress towards coming out of special measures but the Section 5 inspection at the end of 2011 showed that little improvement had actually taken place. I wonder if these Section 8 inspections were a factor in the DfE's failure to intervene, although in my view there was enough evidence for DfE to get involved regardless.

Does this help the Save Roke campaign? In terms of a possible legal challenge or getting the DfE to change its mind it is unlikely to be of use. The courts set a very high bar before they will intervene in a decision by the government - assuming no laws have been broken they will only intervene if the decision maker's interpretation of government policy is not one which the words of the policy are reasonably capable of bearing (for a different, and possibly clearer, expression of the standard used look up "Wednesbury unreasonable"). And DfE (unsurprisingly) won't want to discuss other schools. However, an apparently inconsistent approach certainly makes people angry and can help to recruit people to the cause, so it helps in that respect.

yellowsubmarine53 Sun 27-Jan-13 09:52:45

It's this school, prh.

As you can see, it's been in an Ofsted category, most usually special measures since 2007.

It's in Haringey which is one of the areas that the DfE have targeted for forced academy conversion, though they are focusing on primary schools.

It's hard for local residents to understand why a primary school which was put on a notice to improve for the first time end of 2011 was handed over to AET before the inspection was even published (Nightingale School N22), and the JL school has been left to provide an inadequate standard of education for years, given that it's all meant to be about school improvement.

sleepylampost Sun 27-Jan-13 00:07:41

It says on the site, a better rating was not possible given the time between inspections. A longer time would be needed to show the changes were sustained and to acheive a rating of good or outstanding.

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