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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:53 am 
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in my view the school has not been well run for years but you can paper over cracks for a time. It's wrong to blame the person starting to fill the cracks for letting them get to the point where they threaten the building.

The DfE cannot impose changes on the school. If they could do so they would have forced a change earlier since early GCSE is not in the interests of the children.

The new head is coming from a school that has put students before its league table position. It produces better results than Colyton in areas that matter. They do not have to cope with the stupidity of the 3 year sixth form. No-one can deliver an overnight change but those joining the school this year will see the benefits of the changes that have already started.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:39 am 
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I don't think it's a coincidence that the announcement about the Three Year 6th going and the school expanding came less than a term after the deputy took over as acting head and the new permanent head was announced. I suspect they applied great pressure to the governing body in the face of overwhelming evidence against it. Applying the GCSE/6th form change immediately to the current Yr 9s mid-academic year was quite telling I feel.

The best thing for the school and its students IMHO would be a fresh, dynamic governing body open to new ideas to support the incoming head.

Barry Sindall was head 1990-2008 and developed the three yr 6th with the Chair. Although he left years ago he still has involvement with Colyton in the background via governors though they don't publicise this to parents. The Chair has been a governor for 33 years. Eleven of the 16 governors who make up the GB (excluding the acting head) have served beyond the two terms/ 8 years of office advised in the DfE governance handbook, with an average length of service of 15 years.

They are aware of rumblings of discontent about terms of office though and (coincidentally?) have written a piece to parents and finally promised a review of governance.

The problem is that it will be an internal review. In a timescale yet to be specified.
I wonder how that will go?

A final spanner in the works may be that Colyton, in common with most secondary schools, is quite likely to become part of a Multi-Academy Trust. That may kick start some changes as the DfE states that an external review of governance, amongst other things, should be carried out before this is put in place.

All will be well provided those in office put the children and future of the school first and don't conflate these with other objectives.

Interesting times.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:20 am 
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buzzard wrote:
in my view the school has not been well run for years but you can paper over cracks for a time. It's wrong to blame the person starting to fill the cracks for letting them get to the point where they threaten the building.


Well, firstly - I disagree about the school having not been well run for years. Secondly I am not 'blaming the person starting to fill the cracks' I am concerned about specific actions that have been taken last term and this term which have not in any way been 'crack filling'. And have nothing to do with the change from a 3 to 2 year 6th which I am broadly in support of. Actually, more than broadly. Wholly. In the circumstances.

Quote:
The DfE cannot impose changes on the school. If they could do so they would have forced a change earlier since early GCSE is not in the interests of the children.


They can and they did. The DfE declared that for the 2018 league tables only kids who had taken the new maths and english GCSE would count in school tables. Therefore, any kids in Y11 who had taken maths and English in Y10 would not count for the school tables. This obviously gave Colyton no choice - if the current Y9 took their GCSEs in Y10 as originally planned, the school would come bottom of the league tables. Not near the bottom. Actual bottom. They weren't going to let that happen. They had no choice.

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The new head is coming from a school that has put students before its league table position. It produces better results than Colyton in areas that matter. They do not have to cope with the stupidity of the 3 year sixth form. No-one can deliver an overnight change but those joining the school this year will see the benefits of the changes that have already started.


I don't know anything about the new head or his school. I do know, from personal experience, that prior to this year Colyton did not put its league table position above its students. I also know (from personal experience) that since September there are indications that this may no longer be the case. The school was incredibly flexible in all the years I had been associated with it. It is suddenly being somewhat inflexible.


Last edited by pooplechair on Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:30 am 
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Kit wrote:
I don't think it's a coincidence that the announcement about the Three Year 6th going and the school expanding came less than a term after the deputy took over as acting head and the new permanent head was announced.


It happened because of the DfE decision about what would count in the school league tables for the kids currently in Y9. Nothing to do with the change of head.

Quote:
I suspect they applied great pressure to the governing body in the face of overwhelming evidence against it. Applying the GCSE/6th form change immediately to the current Yr 9s mid-academic year was quite telling I feel.


It was because of the DfE decision which related directly to that year.

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The best thing for the school and its students IMHO would be a fresh, dynamic governing body open to new ideas to support the incoming head.


You may well be right.

Quote:
They are aware of rumblings of discontent about terms of office though and (coincidentally?) have written a piece to parents and finally promised a review of governance.


I'm not aware of 'rumblings about terms of office', and I've been a parent at the school for some time. Perhaps I don't talk to the 'right' people. What I do know is that as far as parent governors go, longstanding holders of these positions continue to be relected when their terms expire so there can't be that much discontent about them or people would vote for new faces. It seems to me that people vote for the same, either the same faces or the same ideas. I feel strongly that the parent body reflects the make up of the governors, to a large extent - there doesn't seem to be a huge amount of room for people who aren't soulless minions of orthodoxy.

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All will be well provided those in office put the children and future of the school first and don't conflate these with other objectives.


This is something that seriously worries me. I do not, I think, agree with the vision of the school that some governors and staff (and the temporary head) and probably parents seem to have. I do not think the school should be a science academy or a training ground for future doctors. But that seems to be the only real focus. They talk about balance when discussing subject selection with the kids but actually, the imbalance is being imposed all the time by the school and (some of) the staff. The recent GCSE parents' evening was a case in point. The temporary head couldn't even bring herself to utter the phrase 'arts subjects' instead calling them 'practical subjects'.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:54 pm 
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Surely CGS should do well in the league tables at GCSE. The rest of the country is doing GCSEs in 2 years, but CGS will be doing them in 3, with children who passed 11+.
I would still have preferred the year they save at KS3 going to an extra year at A level rather than GCSE, or at least the option of taking some GCSEs early and progressing onto some aspects of the A levels in year 11. However, from earlier posts, it seems if the current year nines did this, their results would not count. Does this mean no school will be doing one or two GCSEs early any more?

Also, I thought the school was well run by the previous head. I cannot understand why previous posters who thought it was not would pick the school for their child.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:45 pm 
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russet wrote:
Surely CGS should do well in the league tables at GCSE. The rest of the country is doing GCSEs in 2 years, but CGS will be doing them in 3, with children who passed 11+.


Lots of schools are moving to a 3 year KS4 with the new GCSEs. Most of the schools I know, certainly. The current Y9 are going to have a 3 year KS4 but since the syllabi (?) for some of the subjects to be examined in 2018 aren't out yet, I don't think they are entirely in a better position than anyone else. And they have of course been accelerated through KS3.

Quote:
I would still have preferred the year they save at KS3 going to an extra year at A level rather than GCSE, or at least the option of taking some GCSEs early and progressing onto some aspects of the A levels in year 11. However, from earlier posts, it seems if the current year nines did this, their results would not count. Does this mean no school will be doing one or two GCSEs early any more?


It's just maths and English where this is the case but I guess that would just make it really confusing and muddled, doing a load of GCSEs in Y10 and just maths and English in Y11. And would detract from the amount of lesson time for A level subjects, I guess...

Quote:
Also, I thought the school was well run by the previous head. I cannot understand why previous posters who thought it was not would pick the school for their child.


I completely agree. The previous head was excellent. The temporary one is deeply unimpressive. Luckily we still have an excellent SMT. Hopefully the new head will be OK.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:53 pm 
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I have had good experiences of both headteachers and have no complaints.
Pooplechair, I understand that more Yr13 students than in previous years have wanted to drop their fourth A level subject, with varying responses from the school. Is this what you mean by inflexible?

The terms of office issue I mentioned apply to the 13 governors (out of 17) who are not parent governors.

There are only 4 parent governors- one one their 3rd term, one their 2nd and two only on their first. They are elected by all the parents of course.
There are two staff governors who have been elected unopposed for several years. They are elected by the staff I believe. The Headteacher is always a governor.

The real issue however is that the remaining governors (10 of them) are appointed by the board, i.e. basically appoint each other every time their own term expires. It is therefore difficult to have new faces or new ideas. There is no limit to how many terms of office they can serve. The National Governors' Association recommend term limits for governors, where each governor serves for no more than 2 x four year terms and Chairs for no more than 6 years. The Colyton board have rejected this proposal (minutes on website). I suppose it would be a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas!

As you say, parent governors stand for election every 4 years and are voted for by the parents so are much more accountable than other governors. But they are in the minority so any new ideas or opinions can be ignored by the unelected majority on the board if they so choose.

Have a look at the governor's update to parents which was attached to the head's weekly newsletter a few weeks ago. It's quite interesting. The dates mentioned are how long some governors have been Chairs of the committees, not how they have been governors (which is a lot longer).

Reason for edits: inability to add up to 17 correctly!


Last edited by Kit on Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:09 pm 
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Kit wrote:
I have had good experiences of both headteachers and have no complaints.
Pooplechair, I understand that more Yr13 students than in previous years have wanted to drop their fourth A level subject, with varying responses from the school. Is this what you mean by inflexible?


No. I don't know any Y13s who have tried to drop a subject since September. I do know people now in Y13 who were able to get agreement to drop a subject for Y13 while they were in Y12, but that agreement obviously was secured before September (and in fact was given by the head of 6th form not the previous head although I suppose he probably had to sign off on it too, internally). I also know some people who were trying to drop a subject in Y12 with not conspicuous success - I don't know if they tried again after the AS results came out. Or what the outcome was if they did. I really don't know much about what other kids do, just my own kids...

I wouldn't say I had a concrete complaint yet, about something that has happened under the new/temporary regime. But I fear that I might be about to have one. It all depends. There have been some things that have annoyed me but ultimately, I wouldn't class that as a proper complaint. The thing I am concerned about will be. If it happens. Which hopefully it won't. But it might. I'd have been confident under the old head that it wouldn't. But I don't have that confidence now. And I no longer have confidence that the best interests of individuals are even acknowledged as existing let alone taken into account.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:23 pm 
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I hope whatever it is gets sorted out for you.

My worries are more general and come from a concern for pupils at the school both now and in the future.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:55 pm 
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Kit wrote:
I hope whatever it is gets sorted out for you.

My worries are more general and come from a concern for pupils at the school both now and in the future.


I have general and specific worries. But they all stem from the same root which is the vision of what the school is supposed to be *for*.


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