A proposed merging of the leadership of two primary schools will be decided by the current governing boards on Monday

Controversial primary school move to be decided next week

Controversial primary school move to be decided next week

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Waltham Forest

A delayed decision over the future leadership of two primary schools will be made next week.

Dawlish Primary School in Jesse Road, Leyton, could soon be taken over by Prue Barnes who is the current headteacher of Newport School in Newport Road.

The schools would have one governing body under the propsal.

On Monday, the separate governing boards will meet to decide, following a consultation process.

Many parents at Dalwish Primary have been vocal in their opposition to the plan, claiming any merger would destroy the sense of community at Dawlish.

However, Waltham Forest council has spoken out in support of the plan.

Letters will go out to parents after the meeting and the decision will be published on both school websites.

Comments (6)

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3:48pm Fri 25 Jul 14

leytonoldboy2 says...

How very convenient. There are only two people on the governing body who would represent the people who are against the federation—the Dawlish parents and staff—and one of those will be on holiday. The others are all cronies of Prue Barnes and/or Chris Robbins. I suppose it’s so that they can say they listened to people’s concerns about not allowing enough time. But now one poor, solitary governor will try to put forward the views of the vast majority of those affected and they will be up against the mighty machine of the London Borough of Waltham Forest. I wonder what the outcome will be?
How very convenient. There are only two people on the governing body who would represent the people who are against the federation—the Dawlish parents and staff—and one of those will be on holiday. The others are all cronies of Prue Barnes and/or Chris Robbins. I suppose it’s so that they can say they listened to people’s concerns about not allowing enough time. But now one poor, solitary governor will try to put forward the views of the vast majority of those affected and they will be up against the mighty machine of the London Borough of Waltham Forest. I wonder what the outcome will be? leytonoldboy2
  • Score: 3

9:51pm Sun 27 Jul 14

sewandsew says...

Why are things like this not put to the vote? I can't see this being decided in a way that suits the majority. Where I live I have the choice of either of those schools and if I haven't managed to move by then my child will be home taught because I just cannot face him attending a school advertised as being a 'hard federation'. I actually don't want my child to be pushed to achieve. I want him to enjoy it and for him to relish his learning, to want more. Okay he may not achieve the government standard immediately but I think he stands a better chance of wanting to continue to learn in the long term. I understand other parents want different and that is exactly why consultations should be about collecting and representing actual views, not just ticking a box.
Why are things like this not put to the vote? I can't see this being decided in a way that suits the majority. Where I live I have the choice of either of those schools and if I haven't managed to move by then my child will be home taught because I just cannot face him attending a school advertised as being a 'hard federation'. I actually don't want my child to be pushed to achieve. I want him to enjoy it and for him to relish his learning, to want more. Okay he may not achieve the government standard immediately but I think he stands a better chance of wanting to continue to learn in the long term. I understand other parents want different and that is exactly why consultations should be about collecting and representing actual views, not just ticking a box. sewandsew
  • Score: 5

9:07pm Mon 28 Jul 14

runningupthathill says...

Exactly, sewandsew. This issue has been about choice, about respect for parents' opinions and about a good education being more than a few test results at age 11.
There is no point in parents having a choice when both options are the same and if today's meeting has made the decision in favour of the hard federation then the only significant difference between the two schools will be size. Luckily, there are other options locally, though some youngsters may have to travel further.
I feel as though parents and their views have been treated with disrespect, even disdain. Dawlish has continued to be a very popular school, despite the dip in KS2 test results, but governors, councillors and others pushing for the hard federation have talked as though parents don't really understand the issues here . I suspect parents understand the issues very well and that they don't place KS2 statistics above other aspects of learning and schooling in quite the way the hard federators think they should. When parents have said their children are unhappy at Dawlish since the new regime began, they are told that is because children do not like change, as though parents can't tell whether their own children's feelings are significant or not.
In the end, the parents only had the power of persuasion and others had the power of decision. We will see how they have used that power.
Exactly, sewandsew. This issue has been about choice, about respect for parents' opinions and about a good education being more than a few test results at age 11. There is no point in parents having a choice when both options are the same and if today's meeting has made the decision in favour of the hard federation then the only significant difference between the two schools will be size. Luckily, there are other options locally, though some youngsters may have to travel further. I feel as though parents and their views have been treated with disrespect, even disdain. Dawlish has continued to be a very popular school, despite the dip in KS2 test results, but governors, councillors and others pushing for the hard federation have talked as though parents don't really understand the issues here . I suspect parents understand the issues very well and that they don't place KS2 statistics above other aspects of learning and schooling in quite the way the hard federators think they should. When parents have said their children are unhappy at Dawlish since the new regime began, they are told that is because children do not like change, as though parents can't tell whether their own children's feelings are significant or not. In the end, the parents only had the power of persuasion and others had the power of decision. We will see how they have used that power. runningupthathill
  • Score: 3

8:19am Tue 29 Jul 14

EastisEast says...

The respect for parent's opinions has been in place since the 90's. What the majority asked for was league tables, accountability, and the ability to get rid of teachers that we're not making the grade because parents would no longer tolerate schools that were not ensuring that their children were at least being taught to national standards. Successive governments have put different measures in place to ensure those wishes were adhered to.

It may be that this approach doesn't suit every pupil, what approach would, but it's the standard in place.

The bottom line, as parents have demanded over time, is that failing schools be held to account and changed if found wanting. Dawlish is failing according to the national standard set.

What is evident from what I have gleaned , is that this year has been very difficult for parents and children at Dawlish as a new team came in to help a failing school, and the existing teachers would not accept that their failing methods needed review, they didn't accept that they needed help, they didn't accept that national standards applied to them, and decided they would thwart any changes that ms barnes and her staff made at every opportunity, They made sure that nothing that was different or new could be seen in a positive light.

The reality here is that the local authority are bound to national standards, and unless they put into place measures to address those schools that don't meet those standards, higher authorities will.

I wish the Dawlish parents and children well, and hope that their school thrives next year whatever the outcome.
The respect for parent's opinions has been in place since the 90's. What the majority asked for was league tables, accountability, and the ability to get rid of teachers that we're not making the grade because parents would no longer tolerate schools that were not ensuring that their children were at least being taught to national standards. Successive governments have put different measures in place to ensure those wishes were adhered to. It may be that this approach doesn't suit every pupil, what approach would, but it's the standard in place. The bottom line, as parents have demanded over time, is that failing schools be held to account and changed if found wanting. Dawlish is failing according to the national standard set. What is evident from what I have gleaned , is that this year has been very difficult for parents and children at Dawlish as a new team came in to help a failing school, and the existing teachers would not accept that their failing methods needed review, they didn't accept that they needed help, they didn't accept that national standards applied to them, and decided they would thwart any changes that ms barnes and her staff made at every opportunity, They made sure that nothing that was different or new could be seen in a positive light. The reality here is that the local authority are bound to national standards, and unless they put into place measures to address those schools that don't meet those standards, higher authorities will. I wish the Dawlish parents and children well, and hope that their school thrives next year whatever the outcome. EastisEast
  • Score: -1

10:41am Tue 29 Jul 14

runningupthathill says...

EastisEast, I think you are talking in general about other peoples' interpretations of parents' opinions in the past. I am talking about the actual opinions of Dawlish parents as expressed at meetings and through the consultation. In what way do you think those opinions have been respected?
EastisEast, I think you are talking in general about other peoples' interpretations of parents' opinions in the past. I am talking about the actual opinions of Dawlish parents as expressed at meetings and through the consultation. In what way do you think those opinions have been respected? runningupthathill
  • Score: 1

3:07pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Marilyn Payne says...

Eastiseast, I won’t argue with your comment until you get to the fourth paragraph but I really must take issue with what you say here.

When standardised testing began here in the 90s, a common worry was that some teachers would be tempted to ‘teach to the tests’. The Dawlish way was to ensure this never happened and to stay true to what was known to be valuable in education terms; a broad curriculum, acknowledgement of individuals’ skills and talents, an enthusiasm for learning and confidence to think for oneself. The result was that the children’s measurable academic achievement was very good as well as everything else.
The balance was there and Dawlish was recognised as a really good school. Contrary to the picture you paint of staff resistant to change, Dawlish staff were enthusiastic and ready to try new methodology and systems. They were never arrogant enough to assume they knew it all.

For various reasons in the last few years this balance has been lost and the acknowledged standards were not being met as well as they could have been.

What happened as a result was that a group of teachers took over the school and rubbished every single thing about it. The staff were told that they were completely inadequate—nothing of their knowledge or experience was given any value whatsoever. To add insult to injury they were being told what to do by people who rebuked them publicly in front of the children and other adults, who could not keep discipline without shouting at the children, who spoke very inappropriately to children and refused or were unable to engage in any discussion about educational issues. If those sent in to ‘help’ had had the skills and knowledge necessary and had acted with respect they would have been welcomed with respect and appreciation. As they showed so little understanding of people of any age, it was difficult for the staff to be positive about their input. Is that so hard to understand?

You say the staff thwarted any change—I’d like to know which things they thwarted—can you tell me? Which changes did they prevent? It seems to me that the only change they resisted was the insistence that the staffroom door be kept open and that resulted in threats of professional misconduct proceedings. They were not lazy or awkward: they were fearful and miserable. None of the people in charge has done anything to address this. Management, governors and LA all continue to blame and insult them. The parents do not, however, blame the victims as many have themselves been treated with a lack of respect and kindness.
Eastiseast, I won’t argue with your comment until you get to the fourth paragraph but I really must take issue with what you say here. When standardised testing began here in the 90s, a common worry was that some teachers would be tempted to ‘teach to the tests’. The Dawlish way was to ensure this never happened and to stay true to what was known to be valuable in education terms; a broad curriculum, acknowledgement of individuals’ skills and talents, an enthusiasm for learning and confidence to think for oneself. The result was that the children’s measurable academic achievement was very good as well as everything else. The balance was there and Dawlish was recognised as a really good school. Contrary to the picture you paint of staff resistant to change, Dawlish staff were enthusiastic and ready to try new methodology and systems. They were never arrogant enough to assume they knew it all. For various reasons in the last few years this balance has been lost and the acknowledged standards were not being met as well as they could have been. What happened as a result was that a group of teachers took over the school and rubbished every single thing about it. The staff were told that they were completely inadequate—nothing of their knowledge or experience was given any value whatsoever. To add insult to injury they were being told what to do by people who rebuked them publicly in front of the children and other adults, who could not keep discipline without shouting at the children, who spoke very inappropriately to children and refused or were unable to engage in any discussion about educational issues. If those sent in to ‘help’ had had the skills and knowledge necessary and had acted with respect they would have been welcomed with respect and appreciation. As they showed so little understanding of people of any age, it was difficult for the staff to be positive about their input. Is that so hard to understand? You say the staff thwarted any change—I’d like to know which things they thwarted—can you tell me? Which changes did they prevent? It seems to me that the only change they resisted was the insistence that the staffroom door be kept open and that resulted in threats of professional misconduct proceedings. They were not lazy or awkward: they were fearful and miserable. None of the people in charge has done anything to address this. Management, governors and LA all continue to blame and insult them. The parents do not, however, blame the victims as many have themselves been treated with a lack of respect and kindness. Marilyn Payne
  • Score: 2

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