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Improve your local secondary school

(13 Posts)
Slothie Sun 12-Jun-11 22:31:21

Hi, I'm wondering if there is anyone out there who, like me, lives in a great town but where there is no good secondary school. I have modest academic ambitions for my children and would like them to have a good education but I am not prepared to move house (to a good catchment area), pay huge fees to go private or fake a religious conviction. Does anyone have experience of trying improve their own local secondary? And what can I do now as a mum of junior age children to ensure that the secondary is better by the time they get there?

thenevernever Sun 12-Jun-11 23:47:38

Encourage as many other interested and committed parents to send their kids there. If you do it en masse then you can also work together with the head and staff to make improvements.

Kez100 Mon 13-Jun-11 04:39:42

Become a Governor. A role which allows you to influence the strategic future of a school and your thoughts can be heard.

Kez100 Mon 13-Jun-11 04:42:10

Just seen, you don't currently have children there. Contact them to see if they have any community or LA places available.

starlady Fri 17-Jun-11 19:39:37

You could get advice for the people who are behind this initiative:

Elibean Sun 19-Jun-11 11:37:42

Some of our local parents have started a Community Board to get the local community (including parents) to support our local secondary - which became an Academy last September after years of being the local sink. It has a lot of power - loud voices! - and things are definitely changing. Good luck, and good for you - if more people did what you want to do, all our schools would improve!

Silverstreet Sun 19-Jun-11 13:56:11

I second the community governor role. Plus try checking out their website and reading their newsletters (generally issued every half term or term) to see what they are doing generally/how you can help. If they are not on website then ask their reception if you can be added to email list - saying you expect your children will go there and want to get to know school better now.

Slothie Sat 25-Jun-11 22:02:38

Thanks for all your ideas. I didn't know that it was possible to become a Governor if your children do not go to that school, so I have looked into that. At the moment there are no community vacancies but I will keep my eye on it. Whenever I meet another person who is thinking of moving out or going private I try to persuade to think again. I shall check out the time for trinity blog too and I like the sound of the Community Board. How does that work? Thanks for all your ideas.

Elibean Sun 26-Jun-11 17:42:26

Slothie, I'm not too sure how the CB works for our local secondary - I think it was just a small group of concerned parents who decided to set it up. PM me if you like, I can try and put you in touch with one of the prime movers and shakers of ours - or at least send you a link or something.

darkside Mon 27-Jun-11 09:39:33

not experience of trying to change a secondary school but I did try for some time to change a primary school. Joining the Parents Association and playing an active role in fund-raising for the school may get you a little influence. It will bring you into contact with other parents so that you learn more of what is happening at the school and you can try to band together to encourage change.

The most important thing about any school is the head-teacher and unless you are on the board of governors when they recruit there is little you can do about them. You can try to support/encourage the head in the right path but that will only work if they are reasonable. I don't wish to depress you but I'm afraid we gave up and moved our child to another school. A number of other parents also took their children away. Last time I checked the school's population had dropped by 25%.

Slothie Mon 27-Jun-11 20:53:21

I have checked out the time for Trinity blog and it looks really inspiring, that is just the sort of thing I need to do here. I bumped into another neighbour who has his house up for sale because he doesn't want his daughters to go to our local school. I challenged some of his preconceptions and put the argument for staying......maybe I planted a seed. The Headteacher is new at our secondary so he is very enthusiastic and ambitious at the moment but I haven't met him so have no idea if he is reasonable or not. So I will not get depressed yet, it's five years before my oldest goes to the secondary so there is time for lots of change.

breadandbutterfly Tue 28-Jun-11 10:37:20

Lucky kids to have such a great and committed mum!

darkside Tue 28-Jun-11 11:08:11

there are a lot of things an ambitious head can do to improve the ethos of a school and how it is perceived locally. Does the school have uniform and is there is a strict policy of enforcing it? Do they have strict discipline? Does the school stream pupils and have a stream that clearly targets the more able?

Would you be able to get involved now in making sure that positive stories appear in the local press? Most local papers have few staff and if you send press releases, preferably with pictures of smiling children, they will often put them in.

I take it the exam results aren't brilliant. My children are at a "good" school and its results are achieved partly by starting with above average ability students but also by testing and retesting and making children sit early exams so they can resit if necessary. They also get students to sit "soft" exams that push up the average points per pupil so they move up the league tables. That attracts better qualified students and then they move further up the tables.

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