York High school criticised by Inspectors

Set to become an independent  “Academy”

The governments OFSTED inspecting body has released a damming report into teaching standards at York High school. The inspectorate has leaked the report to the media before posting it on their web site. This is hardly the behaviour of a responsible organisation and an action which will frustrate both teachers and parents as they seek to learn more about the “failings”.

In reality several pupils at the school have done remarkably well in recent years and the denigrating comments in The Press about the Westfield community are both  ill informed and prejudiced. Unfortunately open media comments pages often provide a channel for the bigoted who usually hide behind a cloak of anonymity.

The school is judged by OFSTED to be “coasting” having received a “good” assessment from the same Inspectors as recently as 2012.

Still, recent poor exam results – particularly in science and languages – have cast a shadow on a school which started in 2009 with an impressive record of innovation and achievement.

The head teacher has already announced his resignation paving the way for a fresh start.

The government will give the school no option but to change to “Academy” status. It is looking to form a link with a group which includes Millthorpe This means a new governing body will be appointed. It may not include community representatives while even parents may lose their voice. 

Academies have been criticised in the past for paying high wages to senior administrators and some teachers.  On a split campus, which also includes the Energise leisure centre, good relations with neighbours are even more important.

So a sorry saga. The sooner the school is able to move on the better for all concerned.



York Lib Dems oppose academy school plans

York Liberal Democrats have written to the Government opposing plans to force all schools to become academies.

In Westfield, the Hob Moor school recently announced plans to become an Academy amidst  confusion about how its PFI debts would be paid.

Hob Moor School

Hob Moor School

Residents also questioned how parents and the local community would be able to influence the polices of what is a major neighbourhood asset sited in a relatively poor area.

Specialist services for those with Special Educational Needs are provided on the campus which is also a base for Surestart services.

 The Conservative Government has said that all schools will be expected to become, or be in the process of becoming, academies by 2020, with all converted by 2022.

In a letter to the Education Secretary, local Lib Dems say they are opposed to “forced academisation” and raise concerns about the ending of the current accountability of schools to elected local councils.

The letter raises concerns about whether councils such as York will be able to fulfil their remaining education duties under the new system, such as school place planning and protecting vulnerable pupils including those with Special Education Needs. It also criticises the proposal to end the role of parent governors and says the Government has revealed no plans to help councils with the costs that they will face in the conversion of schools.