This from parent Karen Shorrock, following last night’s meeting between staff, governors and parents at Waseley Hills High School. Parents asked for this meeting to hear balanced views on both sides of the academy debate, as Waseley Hills High governors are due to vote on possible conversion next week.
“A fantastic turnout by parents and other stakeholders at last night’s meeting at Waseley Hills High School. Rather a vocal meeting but parents were pleased Richard Hatcher who had been invited by parents to speak at the meeting on his knowledge of Academies, was eventually allowed to speak following insistence by parents, albeit for only 5 minutes! We were also able to hear the views of the Headteacher of Waseley and a Headteacher from a newly converted Academy on how his school was progressing albeit they had only been an Academy for a very short time, but information which had been requested by parents. The meeting covered off points which have previously never been discussed with parents and provided a better oversight of what Academy would mean for everyone at Waseley.
The Chair of Governors appeared to struggle to control the meeting and on a number of occasions there were raised voices between him and parents who expressed their concerns which in turn led to a call to order from other parents.
Councillor McDonald informed parents he had informed the Governing Body, of which he is a member, of concerns expressed to him by parents and members of the community, and had requested that Governors hold a ballot of all parents to be fully aware of their opinion before any conversion.
A petition containing 200 signatures was handed to the Chair at the beginning of the meeting calling for a balanced meeting followed by an Advisory Ballot of all parents, I think it was pretty clear towards the end of the meeting that an Advisory Ballot for parents was looking unlikely to happen, the reasoning behind this was based on the guidance laid down by the DFE and the Governors inability to understand Parents would like their opinions heard and noted before any commitment by the Governors is made. The petition is still running and we are hopeful that with more signatures we may be able to change that decision.
Hard to establish the overall outcome of the meeting as many parents walked out in disgust at yet another vocal display from the Chair of Governors. To sum up I would say parents have perhaps established a better understanding of what Academy conversion means, but also a very clear picture of the people planning on running it.
We would also like it noted that at no point have we reported negatively on the teaching and learning delivered at Waseley Hills High School. It was duly noted during the meeting that Waseley is an improving school as a result of the support is has received from the Local Authority. Teachers spoke at the meeting and stressed their primary concerns were for the students and their learning. Every parent in that room was at the meeting for exactly that reason. We all want the teaching and learning delivered by staff at Waseley Hills High School to continue and grow, parents just want to ensure that the school is positive this will be achieved if it converts to an Academy. The questions is can they give that assurance?
Any parent who still has questions can email the school or post them on the Hands Off Waseley website and we will do our best to answer them for you.
The final vote by Governors takes place next Wednesday 11th July 2012, further updates to follow.