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Calder High - under new management?

From Helen Chilton

Saturday, 2 June 2012

At the most recent public meeting held at St Michael's Church Hall on 15 May, which was attended by just under 80 people, many of the new to the meetings, the Friends of Calder High (FOCH) had agreed to call a new meeting on 14 June at the same venue.

Today members of the FOCH Steering Group have been notified that the person who is (arguably) acting in a leadership capacity whilst Mrs Spillane is poorly has offered a series of open meetings with parents throughout June, and has also arranged some open parent meetings (forums) with a specific focus - including hot topics amongst parents such as 'pupil groupings' (streaming, perchance?) and the (rather controversial) behaviour policy known as 'Behaviour for Learning'.

The FOCH Steering Group whole heartedly welcomes this development. If it is as represented, then we feel it meets our stated main aim which is " to work with the school to set up regular, open meetings with school and parents, to establish a parent forum."

We look forward to meeting with Ms Wendy Bradford in a wholly supportive and constructive spirit. We have therefore agreed amongst ourselves to postpone the 14 June meeting until or unless a September (around Ofsted re-visit) or later meeting might be useful. In the meantime, the Steering Group is hoping to meet Ms Bradford in the very near future to put across our case and to represent parents' views and concerns.

From Christopher Reason

Sunday, 3 June 2012

This is extremely encouraging news. Part of me feels sorry for Ms Spillane - she has clearly been completely out of her depth all year. The school now needs someone of wisdom and experience to take over. I fear both she and the chair of governors have to go in order to let the new broom sweep up.

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 4 June 2012

This is an outbreak of sanity at last.

I don't want to comment of someone who is on sick leave but I agree with Christopher that whether she comes back or not then the present board of governors needs to go.

Their job is to work with - and sometimes rein in - heads and given some of them are supposed to be parent reps I would ask what have they been doing to feed all the different parent views into their meetings.

It is also worth remembering the current chair is an LEA appointee so I would ask what our councillors have been doing to resolve this situation.

This latest fiasco plus the Miss Rusty farce would convince me a parent that they all should go and the school start again. Otherwise the school's hand might be forced anyway.

I would suggest putting a leaflet out putting that view but that would result in yet more wasting of police time threatening law abiding parents.

From Reg Slater

Thursday, 7 June 2012

I believe Ms Spillane has been somewhat unfortunate in taking on this headship which was already a poisened chalice. I agree with Paul Clarke here, the governors have a lot to answer for. The headmaster has gone, but the governors still remain in this school despite their litany of errors of judgement, particularly in the case of Ms Rustamova

The nature of the governance of this school was well evident in that case and is still manifest in the present situation. Petty rule making, calling in the police to deal with leafleting, and refusal to engage with parents are all manifestations of the same rigid authoritarian mindset which was very evident three years ago when Ms Rustamova was dismissed.

In that case, as with the present situation, no consultation took place with the parents of the alleged injured parties - the pupils featured in the book, who totally supported Ms Rustamova. The governing body constructed the case for dismissal in fawning compliance with the headmaster rather than use independent judgement and plain common sense.

The police were called in then to stop parents and students protesting, and to stop pupils displaying lapel badges in support of Ms Rustamova. The way she was summarily dismissed, and escorted off the premises, with colleagues forbidden to approach her, was despicable and treated her as though she were a criminal.

Indeed, the methods used by this governing body throughout in pursuit of Ms Rustamova have been described as 'like Stalinist Russia' by no less an authority than the Appeal Court judge.

These governors should go, and go now, before they do any further damage to this school.

See also

HebWeb News: Parents urge school leadership to address important concerns - "to help Calder High to be a successful and exciting place in which to learn" (22 May 2012)

Guardian: Entering pupils early for GCSEs is damaging to children, warns Ofsted (22 May 2012)

HebWeb Forum: Police action against Calder High parents (May 2012)

HebWeb News: Police stop parents leafleting outside Calder High (3 May 2012)

HebWeb Forum: Calder High (Feb-May 2012)

HebWeb News: Calder High Ofsted Report - School given 'notice to improve' (6 March 2012)