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Does anyone know what's going on at Acland Burghley School?

(30 Posts)
frogs Tue 04-Feb-14 18:07:14

I know they had an unfavourable Ofsted inspection, which didn't really take into account that they were inspecting the school in the first few days of the school year, which seems a bit daft.

All the parents seemed to be very supportive of the school, and felt the report was unfair, but now the headteacher has resigned.

What on earth is going on? This is one of our local secondaries, and we have a child in the upper stages of primary, so it's very unsettling. Does anyone have any insight?

PaperMover Wed 05-Feb-14 20:43:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

frogs Thu 06-Feb-14 08:45:43

Haha, yes it was me who liked the architecture, I do like a nice piece of brutalism. smile But even I can see that choosing your child's secondary school according to its architectural merits is a bit shallow. blush But combined with the whole no-uniform vibe I do find it very appealing.

I was reasonably impressed by Jo Armitage based on open day speeches etc, I thought she came across well, and had previously taken the school from 'satisfactory' to 'good'. So the whole sequence of events and her resignation somehow doesn't quite add up. Otoh I have heard mutterings that staff have been less happy than parents with the management, though no idea how true that is.

But the academy conversion I think was CNJ scaremongering - Camden education dept are quite a successful act overall, so I can't see that there's any real grounds for forced conversion. AB certainly doesn't look like a Downhills scenario. Hope not, anyway.

Anyone with any more insider info?

PaperMover Fri 07-Feb-14 18:55:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snoopyone Thu 06-Mar-14 22:25:09

It's a bit worrying, but I'd wait and see whether they manage to get things back on track. My DS has been there for a year and a half and he seems so happy and sorted and has really whizzed along in his studies since he got there. I also have a child at the upper stages of primary and feel confident that it'll be a good school for him too. I'm not sure the school is very polished or sells itself that well - they're not the best communicators - but I've always found all the staff - from the head down - to be lovely, and really committed to the students and the teaching. A big fan here.

frogs Fri 07-Mar-14 07:39:55

Hah, an Acland Burghley parent! We have finally dragged one out of the shadows! <pins snoopy to wall>

What you have said is exactly what all the people I know with dc there have said - parents mostly seem to be super-supportive. I did really like the head, and also thought that (as far as you can tell on a show-round) there seemed to be a really good vibe both from the staff and the kids.

Any idea when they will decide who's going to replace the head in Sept? Presumably that will have a big effect on what direction the school is likely to take.

The only caveat I've heard from AB parents is regarding the boys vs girls ratio. Oh, and of course the lovely architecture is all covered in scaffolding and sheet plastic atm. [pouts]

MrsSquirrel Fri 07-Mar-14 08:57:41

I read a news report that says the school is working with recruitment consultants to search for a new headteacher. Doesn't give a timetable, though. Isn't it unusual for schools to use recruitment consultants?

'Too casual' Acland Burghley teachers are told to smarten up their act in scathing Ofsted report

I'm not an AB parent, so don't pin me, but live locally. The boy vs girls ratio was one reason why I decided not to send my dd there.

frogs Fri 07-Mar-14 11:32:03

MrsS - yes, re the b:g ratio, and of course that becomes self-perpetuating.

You don't have a dd at PHS, do you? Would love to hear inside info from there, as it's looking likely to be our first choice for dd.

I don't know about recruitment consultants for headteachers - I would imagine the top private schools would do something like that, people must get sounded out or headhunted for those top posts, rather than just relying on whoever wants to apply. I guess it could be a positive if they choose well, but I do wonder what the specific shortcomings of the current head were that makes them think someone else could do better.


MrsSquirrel Fri 07-Mar-14 12:08:36

Yes dd does go to PHS and is very happy there. What do you want to know?

We chose it because we liked the atmosphere there. They have that slogan about it being a happy school and I think it's true.

tethersend Fri 07-Mar-14 12:23:57

Dont know about recruitment consultants, but the advert for the headteacher post is in the TES, so they are recruiting through conventional methods too.

frogs Fri 07-Mar-14 12:26:56

Aha, a PHS parent! <bookmarks MrsS>

We have another year to make the decision, so I guess I wondered whether there was any downside to what we have seen at PHS on a quick look-round. It's not a main destination school for girls from my dd's primary, most go to LSU or HGW, so I don't know anyone in RL to ask, and it's regarded as a bit of a left-field choice among the people we know.

We just really liked the atmosphere at PHS, it seemed very calm and yet quite bouncy and creative, and would suit my (ahem) somewhat quirky child. And I thought the head was fab. Good to know it's working for your dd.


MrsSquirrel Fri 07-Mar-14 12:37:01

No particular downside, as far as I am concerned. DD is doing well academically and has a really nice group of friends. I agree that the head is fab, very dynamic.

frogs Fri 07-Mar-14 13:16:01

That's good to hear!

Meanwhile, I've read the inspector's letter to Acland Burghley - blimey.

I wonder if there's a political thing going on against schools that aren't obviously committed to turning their pupils into uniform-wearing,Michael-Gove-style, worker drones:

"Students are not required to wear school uniform. Some staff take your lead and dress in a business-like fashion. However, in other cases, teachers’ attire is too casual and does not promote high professional standards or expectations."

Do these people have any idea how most university lecturers and students dress? No obvious sign that the lack of uniform and general scruffiness causes low standards and expectations at Oxbridge or UCL, for eg. I hate this notion that dc should be expected to dress as if they're going to work behind the counter in a building society. FFS.

I'll get off my hobby horse now before I derail my own thread. blush

FobDodd Wed 29-Oct-14 12:13:37

I'm resurrecting Frog's thread as I am interested in Acland Burghley and wondered what this years cohort of Y6 parents thought of it. Is anyone putting it as a first choice or avoiding it because of its Ofsted.

We have a few years to make up our mind but it's the only mixed sex comp our dc is likely to get into. If it really goes downhill then PH and WE are likely to fill up and we might not be near enough to any local secondary school. I keep checking the AB website but there isn't any news about a new head.

tethersend Thu 30-Oct-14 13:55:39

AFAIK, the head at PH has been drafted in as executive head and is spending the majority of her time there. Not sure of the timescale to appoint a new head though.

FobDodd Sat 01-Nov-14 16:01:10

It seems to be taking a long time, and with no information on AB website.

Itscoldouthere Wed 05-Nov-14 16:14:23

I know a parent with a new year 7 (sibling so they were already on board) so far all going well, the only downside is lots of the girls from primary choose other schools so the intake is even more boy heavy than usual.

FobDodd Wed 05-Nov-14 16:32:50

Thanks Itscoldoutthere. I wonder what it's like being one of a handful of girls? Personally I would have loved it, I always found the boys at my tough city comp a lot nicer than the girls.

Itscoldouthere Wed 05-Nov-14 16:39:57

Yes I think it depends on the girls really, my DCs go to a boy heavy school and the girls all seem fine to me.

I think Meyer friends son just misses his girl friends from primary but he still sees them out of school.

Itscoldouthere Wed 05-Nov-14 16:41:55

Sorry auto correct! "My friends son"

FobDodd Thu 06-Nov-14 18:04:31


FobDodd Fri 13-Feb-15 18:02:00

MillyMollyMama Fri 13-Feb-15 18:54:17

Recruitment consultants are the norm when recruiting Heads in some secondary schools, even LA ones. They also advertise in the TES (where else would you get suitable candidates) but will advise the governors on recruitment procedures and perhaps run selection tests. It depends what the governors think will work best for them.

FobDodd Sat 14-Feb-15 09:38:19

Well I hope the new head works out for AB. For the sake of the current pupils, the community and my DD! We don't have another local mixed sex comp', I think we are too far away from Haverstock.

The new head comes from an academy with a pretty serious uniform. Considering that Ofsted were concerned about the state of dress of the teachers, I do wonder if AB will now get a unicorn for the pupils. Maybe that would be a step too far for AB parents?

GregorSamsa Sat 14-Feb-15 13:24:00

Hooray! And a new website as well, long overdue. smile

I suspect the uniform thing will have been discussed in some detail with the applicants - the governing body of the school and the parents are very strongly in favour of the non-uniform ethos, so introducing a uniform would be an extremely unpopular step.

And there are other schools in the borough wtih no uniform (CSG and PHS), though several others have gone to uniform in the past ten years or so (Haverstock and Hampstead for eg).

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