Local schools crisis: parents speak out

Submitted by Janine on 6 July, 2006 - 9:47

Mossbourne

Barbara writes:

“I am Barbara, mother of Marvin. He was born and raised in Hackney, and is a polite, intelligent child in all subject areas and in sports.

I am still angry, upset and emotional about the situation with school places. I chose three schools for him in 2004 and he did not get a place at any of them. Our first choice was Mossbourne Academy, which we live about five minutes walk away from. We appealed but it was unsuccessful.

He is at a school in Tottenham now, and has to travel on two buses to get there. But he is doing great and I am with him 100% in everything.

The system has to do much better, not just for me but for the parents of tomorrow. I woke up feeling bitter in my mind looking through the window at the school. I know it is not easy to get the school that parents want but at least if you want your child to remain in the borough he or she lives in it should not be a problem.“

Haggerston

Martin Thomas writes:

“The National Schools Adjudicator is due to make a final decision - not open to appeal - on Haggerston school going from girls-only to mixed.

At the start the Learning Trust gave the school three options: mixed Academy, mixed Foundation school, or stay as it is. It backed away due to uproar from students, parents and staff, but there is still hostility to the proposal to make it mixed.

Many who favour mixed schools in principle feel that one of the few good schools, working well, in Hackney, will be wrecked by the change. It could be a ploy to destabilise the school prior to changing it into an Academy. And why not build some new mixed schools to meet Hackney’s shortages, rather than start by messing up Haggerston?

But the case on principle for all Britain’s schools being mixed - as all state schools are in many countries - is unanswerable, if only because girls-only schools unavoidably mean either boys-only schools or “mixed” schools with big majorities of boys.

There is some “nimbyism” from opponents. Teachers don’t want to teach boys; some girls prefer a mixed school on principle but say “not with boys like our brothers and neighbours”. And at May’s consultation meeting, there was a disproportionate represent-ation of the minority of strict-Muslim students and parents who oppose mixed schools out of religious dogma.

So the issue is complex. But it shows clearly the utter lack of democratic accountability about the important decisions on local schools.”

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