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Calder Academy?

From Helen Chilton

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I read Jon Kimber's letter in last week's HB Times (29.11.12) and found much in it with which to agree, especially the comments concerning Mr Gove and his (no longer so) stealthy agenda.

However, as the parent of a Year 10 student at Calder High, I am not so sure about his assertion that the blame for this Summer's poor GCSE results lies with the 'English Paper marking fiasco' alone.

I (in common with all of us parents & carers) am still waiting for a full and detailed briefing about the overall GCSE results picture - especially given the very real fiasco, one knowingly and wilfully initiated by Calder High's previous management, and sanctioned by the Governing Body, of the 'early entry GCSE' policy.

I will attempt to spare my son's blushes in this public forum, but his two exam results in the early GCSE entry up to and including this Summer were, as anyone with half a brain, let alone someone with access to the up-to-date research readily available, could have predicted i.e. failing to fall within the A* to C band which is the only one that currently 'counts'.

As a concerned parent, ex-high school teacher and someone currently employed in an educational capacity, I made two attempts to ask for him to be allowed to repeat both courses so as to achieve his potential in each by taking the exams in two years time. These requests were adamantly refused by teaching staff - firstly, at Year 9 parents' evening and secondly during his options interview. "There was no point...he would be bored...it was not possible".

Imagine my surprise therefore to hear that a few weeks ago he was called from a lesson and, in a private meeting with a senior staff member, asked whether he would care to drop two of his new options in order to re-do the two courses in which he had failed to make the grade.

I had received no warning that this interview was about to take place, something which would have been only proper, but I decided not to make a complaint to the school because, to his credit, my son politely declined.

Mr Kimber refers in his closing paragraph to the possibility of "a committed group of local people that know the Calder Valley area and its diverse population" making a bid to run CHS as a community academy.

As a member of the "No Early GCSE entry" group, and then a founder member of "Friends of Calder High", I have shown such commitment. Unfortunately I, along with fellow members, have been vilified and traduced for our pains, not least by certain members of the CHS governing body. The police have been called to 'deal' with our attempt to publicise an open meeting. All this has left a very bad taste. Little wonder that some members of the parent body may not find it in themselves to rush forward to help out in this lamentable situation.

From Chris Reason

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My son left CHS last summer. He'd loved his first year there. There then followed a long and steep decline. By the time he left, the introduction of any number of new uniform rules and petty restrictions on his freedom had led him to loathe the place. I do not use that word lightly.

Fortunately for him he scraped a place at Greenhead Sixth Form college in Huddersfield. There they treat him as an adult capable of thinking for himself and don't give a damn about what he wears.

The transformantion in his attitude towards education has been simply astonishing. Whilst at CHS, he was at best a reluctant student, now he positively looks forward to college and never has to be nagged about his homework.

Ms Spillane might have gone, but the Chair of Governors remains. I fear that kids at CHS, regardless of what type of academy it becomes, will continue to feel frustrated and alienated as long as this situation persists.

From Rev Tony Buglass

Friday, 7 December 2012

Let's be very clear about this: making schools into academies has nothing at all to do with academic standards, and everything to do with politics. It takes schools out of local authority control thereby weakening local government influence. Academic standards will only be improved by the provision and support of good teachers. That could be done under the current set-up without the irrelevance of academy status. But making a school into an academy makes it look as if Something Is Being Done. Yeah, right.

From Ashley Evans

Friday, 7 December 2012

I agree with Tony Buglass that academies are an irrelevance and unnecessary to improve academic standards. The problem is that given OFSTED's view of the school, a forced academy is a strong possibility. Given that fact it would seem appropriate to consider jumping before being pushed. This would give a little control over the direction of jump . . . .

From Mick Piggott

Monday, 10 December 2012

I don't always agree with Tony Buglass but on schools being turned into academies, I'm with him 100%. The Tories try to claim that they are in favour of smaller government and local democratic control. It's now clear that by smaller government they mean, removing the small amount of democratic control we have through electing our Council; and by local control, they mean by transferring power to big business.

As a grandfather of students at CHS and future students at the school, I'm alarmed at the prospect of our local High School becoming an 'academy'. We should all be concerned about the direction our educational system is being forced into by Tory policies. (Hang on though; didn't 'New Labour' introduce academies?! Oh, for a proper, principled Labour Party!)

From Allen Keep

Monday, 10 December 2012

I can completely undertstand the frustration of parents of CHS when they feel their voice is not heard or they are not listened to about their curriculum concerns or not included in the policy development of the school. Believing that academy status could be an antidote is sorely mistaken.

Whether governors jump or wait to be pushed, and I don't envy that choice, academies are less acountable to anyone in general and to parents/carers in particular than local authority schools.

Anecdotally, I have already heard of parents being expected to buy iPads for their children to do their work on in one academy and another where the entire 6th form has to come to school in business suits!

And if you are a parent/carer of a pupil with special needs watch out - one London academy recently refused to take a pupil with cerebal palsy into their school despite him having as statement of Special Educational Need.
This 11 year old obviously didn't meet the imperatives of the business model but came up instead against the logic of the market which is what academies are really all about - placing our schools into the hands of private interests where of course the weak go to the wall don't they?

One of the major academy sponsor concerns plans to own more than 250 schools in their own national chain by the end of 2013 - that's nearly four times as many schools as a small local authority supports. What price parents/carers having a meaningful voice in that set up?

From Fran R

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Something else to consider for this thread - see below.

Free schools could exacerbate asbestos-management shortcomings.

Copied from Safety & Health Practitioner

The growth and popularity of free schools could expose teachers and pupils to health risks from poor asbestos management, unless the Government gets to grips with providing better training on the matter for governors and teachers.

This is the warning from Michael Lees of the Asbestos in Schools (AiS) campaign, who claims that a new Department for Education (DfE) website designed to address a lack of training and awareness around asbestos in schools is beset by funding problems before it has even hit the ground.

From Cllr Jonathan Timbers

Monday, 17 December 2012

There may be an alternative to Calder High's takeover by an academy chain. It may be able to apply for co-operative status. If you're interested, please read this article, which sets out the co-operative alternative and contains a number of useful links:

Are Co-operative Schools the Answer?

I'd be happy to help convene a group to discuss this potential option. Please contact me here if you'd like to discuss if we can take this forward.

From Allen Keep

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

I notice the proposed meeting with Alasdair Smith from the Anti-Academies Alliance on 17th January 7,45 at the Town Hall.

I don't know who has called/organised the meeting but the Alliance has done a lot of excellent work in opposing academies up and down the country so I hope there will be a big turn out to hear Alisdair's case.

One of the worst aspects of the whole academisation of schools process is that there is almost always little or no consultation/ discussion with parents which says a lot about the methods being used to privatise our schools. The meeting will be a good opportunity to debate the issues and, I hope, galvanise some opposition to academies in Calderdale.

From Kim D

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I am a parent of children currently in local primary school eduction, the school in question having converted to Academy status last year. I face the very real prospect of my children attending Calder High in the next 2-5 years and am becoming increasingly alarmed at the downhill spiral our local high school seems to be following.

The whole Academy debate is very interesting to me. Having been through it at Primary school level I have first hand experience. It appeared to me, when we (as parents) were reluctantly allowed an audience with the school Governers after receiving written notice that they intended to convert, the primary motive for conversion for the Governers was the extra £100k per year the school would receive.

I felt at the time that this was a very short-sighted approach by the Governers. Could they not predict (as I could being an accountant and working in a "big city") that this was an open door for future funding cuts or the prospect of being told by Central Government that the school should seek business/corporate sponsors.

The primary school academy is still in its infancy but we have not heard any further from the Governers since conversion. Certainly no information has been made available as to what they have spent the extra £100k on.

I do fear, as has been expressed here already, that academies are a step towards corporate sponsorship. Once you remove local council budget control are we on a different downward spiral into financial dependence on corporate governers?

My final point on academies - why is it that parents are not deemed important/intelligent/sensible enough to be consulted on the propsect of fundamental changes to our children's education?

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I endorse entirely what Kim says - particularly about the failure of governors to engage in any positive sense with parents.

The fact that CHS governors have behaved for years like a secret society - basically, a one-man band - is a large part of the reason that CHS has been brought to its present pass. Despite vigorous noises from parents, nothing has changed for the better.

Let's wind back to last June/July, when first parents (Friends Of Calder High) and then the school organised meetings to explore ways of improving the school with parental support. For a while it was wonderful - the first breath of fresh air for a long time. The school appeared to be listening, and Calderdale appeared to be listening.

The optimism didn't last long. One of the key issues from the start was the failure of governors to communicate with parents. Over six months later, they still don't communicate with parents. Go to the CHS website and look for dates of governor meetings; agendas; minutes. Absolutely nothing.

Even worse - they don't publicise parent governor vacancies. In November, two new parent governors were elected unopposed - hardly surprising given that few parents except (one suspects) pals of the current governors knew about the vacancies.

So the school remains incompetently and undemocratically governed, and Calderdale - despite is claim to have given CHS massive support - has largely stood back and done nothing to improve parent confidence in the school's governance.

Maybe I shouldn't write this with a heavy cold, but I'm starting to think that CHS now deserves all it gets, and doesn't deserve any more support from parents. Let's not forget that this 'crisis' is the culmination of years of pupil underperformance. Neither the school nor Calderdale did anything to stop the rot when they could have made a difference, so maybe it's time someone else had a go. Academy status is indeed full of hidden pitfalls, as Kim points out. But it's hard to see how parents would get a worse deal from it than the one they're getting now.


From Peter Buckley

Friday, 11 January 2013

Parents and Staff Academy Sponsorship Meeting at Calder High School
– Monday next, 14th January, 6pm

My name is Peter Buckley and I am a Parent Governor at Calder High.
I have been a Parent Governor for just over 4 years and was re-elected, unfortunately un-apposed, in the October/November elections that were advertised both by letter to parents and on the Calder High web site.
I attended all 5 meetings that were held with parents in May/June 2012 and contrary to posts on Hebweb I am always pleased to engage with fellow parents, but do not wish to protract any negative comments about the school on this medium as this undermines the excellent work that is carried out by hundreds of young people and their teachers every day of the week at Calder High.

Since the meetings with parents an engagement group has been established (Parent Engagement At Calder High – PEACH) and has held a number of meetings. The school has a “Call to all parents” on the web site and this is how parents can become involved. So I would implore all parents who have concerns about the school and would like to help to email the address in this “flyer” that you can also see on the web site:

Calling all parents: Would you like to help PEACH with its important work?
PEACH - Parental Engagement at Calder High - is looking for additional members to join the Steering Group and support its rapidly developing programme of work. In the first term of its operation, PEACH has linked with school to establish groups working on:

  • providing trained parent reading mentors to support our students;
  • fundraising;
  • environmental issues;
  • revising the rewards system.

Meetings will take place monthly, take a maximum of two hours and are located either at school or at King Cross Library. If you are interested to know more please contact: PEACH@calderhigh.calderdale.sch.uk

I am posting this now to draw attention to the school meeting for parents that is being held on Monday next, January 14th at 6pm in respect of the Academy Sponsorship Process. Please visit the school web site.

On the opening page you will see a link to a letter from the Executive Headteacher, Jeanne Watson who outlines the current situation regarding academy status and has published a draft list of selection criteria for potential sponsors and gives an email address for comments from Parents, Staff and Students. Mrs Watson and the Governors have also published a draft set of criteria and invite Parents to the meeting where we will try to answer as many questions as possible. My image is on the school web site under the “Governors” section – I look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

From Eleanor Land

Sunday, 13 January 2013

After reading the contribution from Mr Buckley criticising the previous contributors on this subject, I am not surprised some parents have no faith in the current governors. Any concerns are dismissed out of hand, and it would appear that the governors still appear to have their heads deeply buried in the sand. I know this is an alien concept but maybe listening to all parents, not just the ones wedded to your Academy aspirations , would be a better way forward.

From Helen Chilton

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Thanks for this, Peter

I hope as many parents as possible will attend this important meeting tomorrow.

Just to add - a further meeting - open to all members of our community - will take place on Thursday 17 January at 7.30 - 9 pm at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. We have invited a wide range of knowledgeable speakers including one from as far away as London but mainly comprising local people (including members of Calderdale Council) who are aware of our context. Designed to be neither a "pro" or "anti-academies" meeting, but an opportunity for us all - staff and students included - to learn more about what it means for a school to become an academy, and to explore what, if any, are the alternatives.

We'll also be providing copies of the school's sponsor criteria, and making time within the agenda to look at these together, so that people can submit their individual views to the school if they wish.

A small article on page 9 of this week's Hebden Bridge Times contains more details. Hope to see many of you there.

From Helen Chilton

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Thanks to all who attended the Town Hall meeting on 17 January organised by Friends of Calder High, We attracted about 60 people willing to brave the weather. Apologies were received from Cllr Megan Swift, Lead Member for Children's Services, who was keen to attend but was snowed in, and from Cllr Nader Fekri who was on his way back from London but who sent a statement to be read out. I understand there'll be an article in this week's Hebden Bridge Times.

I felt Cllr Ashley Evans did a really good job of representing the Authority's position and he's promised to brief David Whalley, Head of Learning Services who was away in Sheffield, about the meeting. Victoria Jaquiss, a member of the National Steering Committee of the Anti-Academies Alliance, gave several examples of where pressure put on schools to become academies has been successfully resisted and warned us of possible dangers if we do go down that road.

As those of us who were there will know, there was a fair bit of support for resisting the whole thing and trying for a delay. Various tactics were suggested. Towards the end, quite a lot of support was expressed for the notion of 'fighting' any forced academisation. There may even be a sufficient head of steam to start a campaign....anyone? Given that both the Authority and the Governing Body seem to be opposed to the move - could we muster a united front to fight off the Department for Education?

Incidentally, afterwards I was asked by the nice lady on reception at the Town Hall how my 'anti-academies meeting' had gone. It's interesting how many people were under this misconception. As I've had to explain to lots of people over the past month, I felt strongly that parents needed to become better informed and needed a forum which gave an extra opportunity to ask lots of questions. Of course I knew that some people would already have strong opinions (probably anti) while others simply needed to find out more; after all, this was rather sprung on us parents towards the end of November. To this end, I tried hard to garner a wide range of speakers, both for and against. The NUT & NAS/UWT never did get back to me, which was disappointing. But Julie Thorpe of the Co-operative College, an academy sponsor, told us some very useful things and made several constructive suggestions which seemed to go down well. And a student at a local academy told us that many staff at her school were happier as a result of choosing the academy route.

For my part, I'll do what I can to support the resistance. So...who's up for organising a campaign?

From Neti P

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Hi Helen,
Yes there are friends and parents of Calder High who are willing to support a block on the enforcement of Academy status.
Please contact me to discuss further.

From June Eaton

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I was unable to attend the public meeting as I was snowed in, but I did attend the parents meeting at Calder High. I have no criticism of the position of the governors and the leadership team at the school who are acting in what they believe to be the best interests of the school and the pupils, to avoid disruption over a long time period.

I do feel strongly that we as parents and local community members should protest loudly to the government (whilst supporting the school in future whatever the outcome). Does anyone know how to organise an online petition? I also know from my past Amnesty International experience that large numbers of individual letters can have an effect on government officials.

Large numbers of letters to the local and national press could also publicise the issue. I have written as follows to the Hebden Bridge Times:

"I am shocked and deeply disturbed by the events at Calder High School and its forced conversion to a sponsored academy. The leadership team, the governors, staff, pupils and parents have had no say in the decision to convert, which has been imposed by the government’s Deparment for Education.

The new leadership team, supported by the staff and school community, seem to have made a very good start in addressing the problems at the school and improving many aspects of education there. They are not to be allowed the chance to continue this improvement for even as little as a full academic year, the decision to convert to an academy having been forced upon the school before the end of the Autumn term. I am unsure whether this procedure is even within the law.

There were already 2,456 academies in England by November 2012, a tenfold increase since 2010, and many more schools are currently in the conversion process.

The government initiated Academies Commission report published this month confirms that Academy status is no guarantee of school improvement – almost half of sponsored academies were judged by OFSTED to be “inadequate” or “requiring improvement”. There are also many problems with admissions policies and covert selection of pupils by academies, which may well foreshadow a future divided education system favouring those with existing advantages in ability or social circumstances.

Conversion to academy status removes the democratic control which local communities have always had over their own education via election of the local council which has been responsible for running and supporting schools. The runaway train of academy conversions (already half of all secondary schools) has gathered pace so fast that I fear this massive and undemocratic change in education policy has escaped the notice of the general public, and it may already be too late to stop it. Academy sponsors are given seven year contracts.

As parents we are left feeling powerless but perhaps if concerned members of the public bombard the Secretary of State for education, the Prime Minister and our local MP with protest letters we might at least raise the profile of this threat to the future of education in our local community and, indeed, the future of our whole society."

From Allen Keep

Thursday, 24 January 2013

I think your letter is excellent June. Personally, I have little faith in the impact of writing to Governement or (particularly in our case) local MPs. However, as Victoria Jacquiss said at the meeting, anyone and everyone doing as much as they can - even if that is only a little - is an important step in opposing the outrage of academies.

It was clear to me from the meeting that the overwhelming majority of those present were opposed to the disgusting imposition of academy status for Calder High and quite a number voiced their readiness to fight. I think it is vital that we at least find a voice and take a stand - I am reminded of the addage "better to die on your feet than live on your knees".

So, Helen, thank you for organising the meeting and you can count me in. Perhaps the next step would be to hold a meeting of those willing to take action to oppose academy status for Calder High.

From Cat Lee

Saturday, 26 January 2013

I attended the meeting held at the town hall about the current situation at Calder High. This was a very informative meeting with guest speakers who really helped to clarify the situation and possible outcomes for the school in the coming months. Thanks Helen for all your hard work to organise this.

Since then I have read posts on this forum and in The Hebden Bridge Times about the grave concerns about the move towards Academy status for our local community highschool. I have also had conversations in the street with other concerned members of the school community.

All of this makes one thing very clear - there are enough parents, governors, local councillors and other members of our community who wish to fight the threat of forced Academy status. This is the time to band together. So let us put other concerns to one side for now and do everything we can to derail this process.

Academies are not about education, the welfare of our children, or the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. They are about corporate profit, the erosion of state education, and the widening of the class divide. Mostly they are about profit, lining the pockets of corporate players, and adding further destruction to the future prospects for young people in this country.

I was very glad to hear Peter Buckley speak out about the position of the parent governors in this situation. Whatever personal feelings some may have about the relationship between parents and the school governors, it is clear that in this situation we are on the same page. In this situation we need to fight for the sake of our children and future students of Calder High. So let's get started. Let's make a plan of action. Let's fight now before we miss the very short window of opportunity we have to make a stand.

Would the school be open to hosting another meeting with parents and local councillors so we can get started on this?


From Kerry McQuade

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I understand there's going to be a feature in the Education Guardian next Tuesday 5 February about headteachers that have resisted their schools becoming academies.

This is being linked to the launch of a documentary by Rhonda Evans about Downhills School and forced academisation.

Both these might be useful to the local struggle.

From June Eaton

Friday, 1 February 2013

A number of parents/concerned citizens who have made contact through this site & school/public meetings, have decided to raise a paper petition to the Secretary of State for Education to object to the forcing of academy status onto Calder High.

If anyone can collect signatures from your local contacts I can email you a petition form to print out, please contact me at juneleaton@gmail.com as soon as possible. The more the merrier!

From Allen Keep

Saturday, 2 February 2013

"At the meeting [with the DfE], we said, 'Don't you think you should wait until the Ofsted monitoring visit takes place?' And they said, 'No, we want to move now … and if you do not agree we will get the local authority to fire you, all of you, all the governors. If the local authority don't do it, we will. We will put in our own board of governors who will do what we say.' "

This is part of a leaked transcript of a meeting between parents and governors at a London primary school. A governor is explaining to parents what the DfE officials said to the governing body who were trying to oppose the forced impostion of academy status on a historically succesful school. The school had received one notice to improve from Ofsted,but, in their view, had made the required improvements - but had not had their return visit from Ofsted to verify.

This has since happened and the school is seen as making satisfactory progress. Will this save the school from the impostion of the Harris chain of academies? Probably not - any chink in a school's armour, a notice to improve or a failed category in an inspection is increasingly being seized on by DfE to drive in private sponsers into our schools -often, it seems, ignoring their own criteria.

Heads and Governing bodies are running scared, Local Authorities are relatively powerless to resist and parents/carers are completely by-passed in the process ( at the school above a parent described the level of consultation as "zero"). Gove is privatising our education system in front of our very eyes. The "Harris" chain by the way is run by the Carpetright millionaire Lord Harris, significant benefactor to the Tory party and personal friend of David Cameron.

Makes your blood boil doesn't it? -I hope as many people as possible take up June's offer.

From Eleanor Land

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

I read Allen's quote with disgust. It sounds like Big Brother is alive and well, sitting in Whitehall using the title of Education Secretary. Instead of explaining his "reforms" he prefers to use blackmail and threats to get his way. What an example to the children he is supposed to be looking after.

From June Eaton

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

See this film released on Monday 4th Feb:

Academies and Lies: The Parents, The Politician and the Carpetbagger

From Eleanor Land

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Thanks to June for the link to the film. I watched in amazement. The only conclusion I can come to is that our children are being sold off to the highest bidder, many of whom will be filling the Tory Party coffers with filthy lucre. One of the governors in the film describes Gove as unbalanced and after watching him answering questions at the Commons Education Committee and talking about Trots, I can only assume that this man is definitely unhinged. All politicians should stop using our children as political footballs and tools to further their twisted ideologies.

From Jan HC

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

This makes interesting reading.

"The headteachers who fought off the academy brokers: A growing number of schools are showing that it is possible to fight off enforced academisation"

From June Eaton

Monday, 18 February 2013

Please can anyone with any signed petition forms return them to me as soon as possible so they can be posted off to the Education Secretary et al. this weekend. I see the fantastic news on Hebweb that the OFSTED inspection went well but I think it's very important to send off our petition anyway until we are certain of the school's future.
Thank you.

From Allen Keep

Monday, 18 February 2013

Fantastic news that CHS has done so well in it's inspection. Congratulations are due to the teachers and pupils.

One of the many arguments against academy status has always been that so-called failing schools can be turned around - particularly if staff, governers, pupils and parents/carers stick together. A "solution" does not have to be imposed from the top down.

I hope that this result and the continued opposition from our community will force the dfe to back off but I for one am not counting my chickens just yet - the bitter experience of many schools is that the dfe are very determined indeed to force academy status wherever they can.

Certainly, if there continues to be an attempt to force a school that can clearly demonstrate it is improving into private hands there will, I hope, be a real storm of protest and action.

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

It’s only qualified good news that Calder High is out of special measures. The process of turning it into an academy appears to be continuing, so the triumphalist posing of councillors Young, Young and Fekri may be premature.

It’s regrettable that Hebweb has published as news what is more accurately a grab for publicity by the Labour Party. Opposition to the privatisation of the school is a joint, community enterprise that includes support from LibDem councillors but is mainly driven by parents.

In fact, despite their gushing quotes, there is little evidence that Cllrs Young, Young and Fekri actually did anything useful. The prime movers in opposing academisation - the people who put in the graft to organise meetings, speakers, petitions, leaflets - are all parents, not councillors. They are also, as it happens, all women. So why do we have three men giving every impression of claiming all the credit?

From Allen Keep

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Not sure it is the time to be scoring points off the Labour Party - which admittedly (despite the genuine support of Young and Young at least) is rarely difficult - and I certainly hope the collective thumbs up is not premature. Perhaps there is support from elected Lib Dems - not aware of it mind you - and it is their Government after all!

Personally though, I welcome any support for the cause and Graham is right -action so far has been driven by CHS parents and hats off to them. I hope it will continue as I fear it may well be needed.

Hopefully we will all be able to see the latest Ofsted report sooon. I should note though that CHS was not placed in special measures -it was given notice to improve, which is quite different. CHS was judged as inadequate overall as it scored below satisfactory in one criteria out of four - as they are the rules these days (not of course that Ofsted has an agenda to fail schools). That criteria was behaviour which was a new category in place only weeks before the last full inspection in January 2012.

The monitoring report which followed referred to a judgement that CHS did not have the capacity to improve -which now seems itself to have been not the case. The report also referred to the overall level of results in 11-12 which had dipped signicantly - perhaps not surprisingly given the events of the last two terms.

I suspect this is what dfe will continue to focus on despite whatever improvements ofsted have identified. The 2012 report referred to an improvement in results in 10-11 from previous years which had declined since the previous ofsted report but that pupils were attaining higher than the national average from their Yr7 starting points over a 3 year period. We have yet to see 12-13 results obviously and so CHS cannot be judged on these at this point - but as far as I can see we do not have a consistently "failing" school in terms of results/attainments according to ofsted's own account (of course ofsted are only concerned with 5 A*-C as an indicator of achievement and success but that's another argument - as is whether academy staus would mean any improvement)

All quite tedious and the general arguments against academy status are paramount - but the point, or rather a point, is that there doesn't seem to be a case for a school declining over time which I suspect is what the future case, if any, for forced academy status might be as far as dfe are concerned.

I say this because schools that have shown improvement from poor ofsted reports have still been driven into academy status.

We may well still have a fight on our hands. I rarely agree with Graham but I hope he, and many many others are up for it.

See also:

HebWeb News: Ofsted remove Calder High from special category

HebWeb News: Calder High is moving swiftly towards being an Academy: little consultation with parents or the community. Updated to include information about the petition, along with download link

HebWeb News: November and December

Anti Academies website

Calder High website