Calder High No Academy Petition
From June Eaton
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
A huge thank you to everyone involved in promoting the petition and collecting signatures. We collected 345 (on 25 sheets). The petition has today been sent to the Education Secretary Michael Gove. We have sent the following open letter to the Prime Minister (letter to Gove was almost identical).
"25th February 2013.
Open letter to the Prime Minister
The Rt Hon David Cameron, MP
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Calder High School, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
Our local High School, well respected and loved by the local community, after some temporary problems and OFSTED notices to improve, has rapidly improved since September 2012 with a new leadership team and staff/student/parent support. It has nevertheless been forced by your Department for Education to begin the process to convert to a sponsored academy, in January 2013. An OFSTED inspection on 13th/14th February has removed the notice to improve (to be confirmed).
This conversion is not wanted by the leadership team, governors, the local authority, the staff, pupils, parents or the local community. Nobody has been consulted about the conversion. Many people do not understand what it involves. The governors have been bullied into co-operating with the conversion process by the DfE officials’ threat to instantly sack them and replace them with an Interim Executive Board, if they did not co-operate. They have been refused any written confirmation of the conversion process.
We understand that similar practices are being employed by the DfE at other schools all over England, totally contradicting the Coalition programme for government statement “We will promote the reform of schools in order to ensure that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand...”.
We have today sent to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, a paper petition as follows:
“Petition regarding Calder High School, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
We the undersigned, as stakeholders in Calder High School, do not want our community school of sixty years standing to be given away to an academy sponsor.
We demand that the Secretary of State for Education WITHDRAW the decision to impose Sponsored Academy status on Calder High School, which we know to be an adequate and currently improving school.
We demand a full and thorough public consultation with all stakeholders before any future decisions about converting our school to an academy, are made. February 2013”
The petition has three hundred and forty-five signatures of stakeholders in the school – parents, pupils and local residents. This declared opposition to the conversion is undoubtedly only the tip of the iceberg of actual opposition, as we have had very little time to collect signatures and no mass gatherings of e.g. all parents at the school.
The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have previously been able to command respect from most shades of political opinion within the population as, at least, credible electoral alternatives, but this totalitarian behaviour towards schools, parents and local communities is a disgrace to democracy.
We urge you to intervene to stop this process at Calder High School.
We thank you for your attention. We are concerned parents,
June Eaton Jon Kimber
From Ian M
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Can I ask June Eaton how you can claim that the wider community does not want to see Calder High gain academy status when you only managed to collect 345 signatures for your petition against?
How many of those signatures are from staff members who are concerned that their teaching performance would come under increased scrutiny if the school were an academy?
With a catchment area that runs from Halifax to Todmorden the numbers that do not support your petition must run to the tens of thousands.
From June Eaton
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
I shall answer as briefly as possible Ian although most of the information has been previously posted on this site. The paper petition had a column "stake in school" in which most signatories entered "parent" or "local resident/ex pupil". Nobody entered "staff".
We know from the parents' meeting at school that the staff, head teachers and governors were all against the imposition of the academy conversion process by the DfE. The mood of the parents' meeting at the school and the public meeting in Hebden Bridge, both in January, were strongly opposed to the conversion. All of the Calderdale Councillors involved in education or Calder ward have openly expressed their opposition. All letters in the Hebden Bridge Times and posts on this forum regarding the issue are against the conversion.
As stated in the letter to the Prime Minister the number of signatures is undoubtedly only a small representation of the actual opposition, given the lack of time and opportunity to collect signatures. Yours is the only voice I have heard so far (seemingly) in support of the DfE's actions so I can't believe that there is a majority strongly in support.
As for the teachers (who are, and have been, working very hard to improve the school's performance) being concerned about increased scrutiny, I'm sure they can speak for themselves but they have much to fear in the future if the school does become a sponsored academy. Academies can set their own pay and conditions for teachers and can legally employ unqualified people as teachers (Academies told they can employ unqualified teachers). This undermining of the teaching profession directly impairs the education of our children.
From Andy Wilson
Thursday, 7 March 2013
What strange logic from Ian M. I am one of those parents that didn't get round to signing the petition, but that doesn't mean I'm one of 10,000 who don't agree with it. In fact I am very strongly opposed to academy status for Calder High, and so is everybody I have discussed it with. This is an insignificantly small sample, of course, but logic would lead me to conclude that opposition to academy status is overwhelming in the valley.
HebWeb Forum: Calder Academy?
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