Parents urge school leadership to address important concerns - "to help Calder High to be a successful and exciting place in which to learn"
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Nearly 80 parents attended the third Friends of Calder High meeting in Mytholmroyd on 15th May, and we welcomed lots of new faces. Councillors Janet Battye and Nader Fekri were present, as well as the neighbourhood police.
Despite concerns, what was striking was the genuine goodwill most parents felt towards the school. They recognised that many teachers were good and working very hard. There was an overwhelming sense of wanting to work with teachers and the leadership to help Calder High to be a successful and exciting place in which to learn.
Part of the meeting was spent hearing views from new people:
- Parents were unimpressed with the Action Plan meetings which they felt were ‘stage managed’ and rather uninformative, and did not allow an opportunity for open Q & As.
- This was part of a wider debate about poor communication and lack of dialogue with parents. Parents welcomed the fact that the Head said she was going to engage with parents in response to the Ofsted report, but noted there was no time scale, and that there was no commitment for regular meetings, open to anyone who wished to attend.
- Parents were concerned about low expectations for their children so that specific learning difficulties were not picked up; nor was sufficient support made available to their children.
- Parents continue to be upset that their able Yearr 9 children were being put in for foundation GCSE papers, thus putting a ceiling of a C grade as the highest their child could achieve.
- Parents were concerned that the behaviour policy is not effective for serious behavioural problems, while being disproportionately harsh for minor misdemeanours.
- Parents were worried about staff turnover and very concerned about the number of supply teachers their children had.
- They raised issues around governance of the school that did not appear to provide sufficient challenge to the leadership.
Nader Fekri and Janet Battye both spoke helpfully, offering support and saying that they would urge the Head and Chair of Governors to recognise both the goodwill from parents and their concerns, and begin a dialogue with parents.
The steering group of the friends of Calder High has grown since this meeting, and it will keep seeking ways of persuading governors and the leadership to engage in dialogue with us.
The next meeting of the Friends of Calder High will be on Thursday 14th June to discuss moving forward, and will be at St Michael’s Church Hall, 7.30-9pm.
The steering group would like to thank all parents who made donations to cover room hire and photocopying.
Friends of Calder High
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)