There are as many opinions about single sex education in Spalding as there are people, what is best? Evidence can be produced to suggest that boys do better in mixed schools while girls do better in single sex. What must be certain is that parents want the best for their children so the reasons for joining the two schools must be looked at very carefully.
Some might say that I am expressing these views because I am a teacher and a union representative, but is it wrong to be alarmed that we are now being warned of possible redundancies?
Is it not the case that students will get a better education where the staff are happy and effective? Is it wrong to be concerned about the potential impact on teaching and learning? Is it wrong to be concerned about the long term-financial viability of the school?
The Gleed schools are said to be merging, with the girls’ school taking over the boys’ school.
When this is coupled by uncertainties about how much the process is going to cost, it becomes easier to understand why there is a call for caution.
Albeit a little further off there is still the question about becoming an academy that has yet to be answered.
Remember, once a school has become an academy it is effectively impossible to go back to the local authority. Worse still there are concerns that the latest Education Bill passing through Parliament could allow asset stripping from schools.
There has been much political spin about academies which has resulted in confusion as to what an academy is; many parents think that it equates to a massive cash injection, new buildings and up to date equipment. The sad reality is that often it only means that beleaguered headteachers can balance the school budget for another year.
In my experience when you ask why a school wants to become an academy the head will say money; an understandable reason but is it a good enough one?
There is much talk about the ‘freedoms’ academies enjoy but they are still subject to the same Ofsted inspections, they still have to perform well in the league tables – but it does mean they can employ unqualified staff.
Considering the boys’ school has about 650 students I was rather surprised when one solitary parent attended the consultation meeting about joining the schools and becoming an academy.
If people do not express their views it will be very difficult to complain if they do not approve of what they are given.
For this reason I am more alarmed that there is still a possibility that the new Sir John Gleed School could become an academy with little parental involvement or understanding.
I would like to finish as I started as I ask my final question: Are the proposed changes in everyone’s best interest?
The purpose of schools is to give children the best education possible.