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Should parents be told?

(13 Posts)
GnomeDePlume Thu 19-May-16 22:56:27

Just how much should parents be made aware of 'their' schools' problems?

My DD's school has routinely under-performed against regional and national averages. In 2014 the school was categorised as "requires improvement" (it had been in and out of Special Measures a couple of times before this). Things have not got better, they have got worse. 2015 the school managed just 37% of students achieving 5+ GCSEs including Maths and English.

By chance yesterday I found out that the school has received a Pre-Warning Notice Letter in January. Essentially the management of the school is under notice that if they dont improve then the Secretary of State will be appointing directors.

As a parent I feel that the school has continuously glossed over its problems. It has routinely presented itself as being normal, average, when it is quite clearly not.

Should the school be talking to parents about its problems?

noblegiraffe Thu 19-May-16 23:03:01

Schools don't tend to advertise that they're shit because then parents vote with their feet and the school loses funding.

GnomeDePlume Thu 19-May-16 23:37:38

This is the only school in town so there is nowhere to walk with our feet to!

In a way this is part of what annoys me so much. It is as if the management of the school doesnt feel the need to address the problems as we cant go anywhere.

bojorojo Fri 20-May-16 01:11:42

Sadly you are lumbered with poor management with its head in the sand! Do any parent groups meet with the SLT of the school? It also clearly has poor governance. It has obviously been given time to improve but is failing to do this. As things cannot get any worse, and you cannot vote with your feet, then embrace the new concept. It may even be better if they get better staff. That is a big "if" of course.

I do often find that schools get temporary improvement and then slip back again. Improving a school is constant attention to detail. I suppose the children at the school have made poor progress too. It is worrying that there is no urgency to improve more rapidly. Parents do need to make more of a fuss. Is anyone else bothered? Form a group to meet with the SLT and raise the concerns.

You are also entitled to see the minutes of the Governing Body and the school development plan. This should give you more detail on what they are doing , progress of pupils and future goals. I agree that this is just not good enough.

GnomeDePlume Fri 20-May-16 08:47:27

Thank you bojorojo the management of the school has been poor for all the 10 years we have been associated with the school. I have lost count of the number of Heads. In 2012 the school managed only 6% 5+ GCSEs because of a monumental cock up with the English GCSE (yes it is 'that' school, we made the news, yay!).

There is no excuse. This isnt a sink school surrounded by other better schools sucking out the good students and teachers. This is the only school in an average town. We should be average.

I have now written to the head as follows

Dear Mr HT
In January School received a Pre-Warning Notice Letter. Please can you send me the minutes of the governing body and the development plan which show the actions being taken to address the deficiencies highlighted in the Pre Warning Notice Letter.

The School website claims that for 2014 over half the students in Year 11 should achieve five or more GCSE A* to C grades, including in English and mathematics. Yet according to league tables only 40% of students achieved 5+ GCSEs including Maths and English. This discrepancy is misleading to parents and should be corrected immediately.

In my opinion the management of the school should be honest about the predicament it is in. Continuing to pretend to parents that everything is fine when clearly it is not is disingenuous.

I will be interested to see what the Head comes back with.

t4gnut Fri 20-May-16 12:21:58

Thing is all the information you've referred to is in the public domain - Ofsted reports, exam data, Secretary of State letters and minutes of governor meetings. So essentially parents have been informed.

If it has a notice to improve DFE will attach a successful sponsor school to it to sort it out, which can mean it will take it over and run it.

Autumnsky Fri 20-May-16 12:36:25

As it takes time to improving a school, I would suggest OP to keep an eye on your DC's learning, do some extra work at home while you try to push the school.

DS1's Primary school fall from good to require improvement, then the school had a new head from a excellent school to shadow their school, it then takes a few years for the school to move back to good. But if you compare the school's current KS2 results with previous one when the school was in good, it is still miles away.

Bolograph Fri 20-May-16 16:36:37

By chance yesterday I found out that the school has received a Pre-Warning Notice Letter in January.

They're hardly a state secret. Parents who are bothered about such things (more should be, in my view) surely will have been keeping an eye on such correspondence since it went into a category?

GnomeDePlume Fri 20-May-16 17:33:57

I realise it is in the public domain hence how I found it. The thing which bothers me is that the school has not acknowledged it directly to parents.

The school's own website is portraying the ofsted reporting as all being fine and dandy where clearly it is not. This is a bit like a theatre selectively quoting from reviews. Overall the review is negative but the theatre picks up and uses only the fact that the set is stunning not that the play as a whole is a disaster. Not important for a play but rather more important for my DC's education.

t4gnut Mon 23-May-16 08:53:35

Every school quotes electively from OFSTED. It's a numbers game - have to get enough bodies through the door to make the school financially viable. No school is going to splash across the website 'we're shite and we know we are'.

GnomeDePlume Tue 24-May-16 06:36:00

I get that t4gnut, but 1. this is the only school in town so they have a pretty reliable catchment 2. the school hasnt just cherry picked the most favourable comments it has included statements which are actively misleading.

t4gnut Tue 24-May-16 09:15:38

Oh they all do - school round here perceived as a 'good' school got absolutely demolished in their last OFSTED. They combed the report to find a couple of points that weren't dreadful and selectively quoted them.

GnomeDePlume Wed 25-May-16 07:57:08

Ah well, of course the Head hasnt responded. Must be too busy turning the school around (alternatively got his head too far into the sand to see what is happening).

We only have another couple of years with this school. DD is doing GCSEs now then staying on for A levels. Apparently the 6th form provision isnt as bad as the lower years so we live in hope.

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