More strikes at Worthing High in protest at academy plans

First published in News by

Teachers at a Worthing school which is preparing to become an academy are to walk out again.

Worthing High is set to convert to an academy in December, despite strong opposition.

Teachers at the school walked out over the plans in July and are now set to strike again on Tuesday and on November 13.

The acting headteacher has responded by saying she is organising an “alternative curriculum” in a bid to keep the school open.

Marianne Dark, from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “This action is in response to the school’s continued plans to convert despite the concerns of our members.

“We are keen to resolve the matter and are seeking a meeting with the powers that be.”

The Worthing Academy Action Group, which is made up of parents and prospective parents, has been strongly opposed to the plans since they were announced.

Sarah Maynard, from the group, said: “The teachers don’t want to do this but they have no choice. Nobody wants to see this disruption but the governors and senior members of staff aren’t listening.

 “There is no louder message than your own teachers preparing to go on strike for the second and third time.”

Fellow member Linda McVeigh, who has a daughter in Year 11, said: “I think it’s appalling that the chair of the governors is not listening to parents. There isn’t even a list of governors on the school’s website. It’s that kind of secrecy that is really worrying.”

Two of the three unions represented at the school, which include 48 of the 63 teachers as members, have decided to strike.

The NUT and NASUWT have informed the school of their plans.

However the school maintains that there is limited opposition to conversion plans.

Acting headteacher Carolyn Dickinson said: “School staff are working hard with the leadership team to plan an alternative curriculum for Tuesday which will enable us to remain open for all students.

“The governing body had continued to give staff reassurance that there is no intent to change existing pay and conditions upon our conversion and indeed did so publicly at our staff consultation meeting earlier this term.

“I hope the strike will not take place but if it does we are determined to ensure that student learning is not impacted.”

Comments (9)

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5:09pm Wed 17 Oct 12

chrisso says...

My advice to the current staff is to fight the Academy plans all the way, because if the schools in Brighton and Hove that have become academies are anything to go by, then there's a good chance that the senior (more expensive) staff will lose their jobs.
My advice to the current staff is to fight the Academy plans all the way, because if the schools in Brighton and Hove that have become academies are anything to go by, then there's a good chance that the senior (more expensive) staff will lose their jobs. chrisso
  • Score: 0

5:35pm Wed 17 Oct 12

Chieftain11 says...

Bruvver or Sister 'Chrisso'

That's not a clever posting ! Nobody need know that Newly Qualified Teachers can do the job just as well as a top paid 30 year classroom teacher. Please refer to this link if in doubt:

http://blogs.telegra
ph.co.uk/news/brenda
noneill2/100183960/w
hats-really-driving-
the-lefts-loathing-o
f-free-schools/
Bruvver or Sister 'Chrisso' That's not a clever posting ! Nobody need know that Newly Qualified Teachers can do the job just as well as a top paid 30 year classroom teacher. Please refer to this link if in doubt: http://blogs.telegra ph.co.uk/news/brenda noneill2/100183960/w hats-really-driving- the-lefts-loathing-o f-free-schools/ Chieftain11
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Wed 17 Oct 12

Andy R says...

Oh yes....no need for any doubt when some right-wing blogger is reassuring us all. Duh.......

Brendan O' Neill thinks Jimmy Saville is completely innocent and it's all a big witchhunt.

There is no national or local democratic mandate for academies or free schools and I hope the teachers and parents in Worthing keep up the fight against this experimentation on our kids.
Oh yes....no need for any doubt when some right-wing blogger is reassuring us all. Duh....... Brendan O' Neill thinks Jimmy Saville is completely innocent and it's all a big witchhunt. There is no national or local democratic mandate for academies or free schools and I hope the teachers and parents in Worthing keep up the fight against this experimentation on our kids. Andy R
  • Score: 0

7:58pm Wed 17 Oct 12

Saamie says...

Well done teachers and parents of Worthing High. Keep fighting the good fight.
Well done teachers and parents of Worthing High. Keep fighting the good fight. Saamie
  • Score: 0

3:28am Thu 18 Oct 12

redwing says...

What do the Tories in power care? Most of them opt out of the state system and put their children into private schools. It's the same with the NHS. They're covered by their private health insurance. And wrecking our public health service has the useful by-product of allowing them and their mates to make a tidy pile of money from investments in the newly privatised services. So the rest of us are screwed twice over!
What do the Tories in power care? Most of them opt out of the state system and put their children into private schools. It's the same with the NHS. They're covered by their private health insurance. And wrecking our public health service has the useful by-product of allowing them and their mates to make a tidy pile of money from investments in the newly privatised services. So the rest of us are screwed twice over! redwing
  • Score: 0

10:47am Thu 18 Oct 12

Whitehawkian says...

Well, I think the writing is on the wall for a lot of these teachers, and judging by the pupils who commentated on the last walk out, it will be atrociously spelt.
Well, I think the writing is on the wall for a lot of these teachers, and judging by the pupils who commentated on the last walk out, it will be atrociously spelt. Whitehawkian
  • Score: 0

2:52pm Thu 18 Oct 12

ourcoalition says...

Whitehawkian wrote:
Well, I think the writing is on the wall for a lot of these teachers, and judging by the pupils who commentated on the last walk out, it will be atrociously spelt.
At least they are fighting back against an Academy, run by Whitehall (whatever happened to "Localism") with Governors appointed by the Sponsor(whatever happened to democracy) and the experiment of Academies (worst performing school in the country (Bournemouth.......A
cademy!!!).
[quote][p][bold]Whitehawkian[/bold] wrote: Well, I think the writing is on the wall for a lot of these teachers, and judging by the pupils who commentated on the last walk out, it will be atrociously spelt.[/p][/quote]At least they are fighting back against an Academy, run by Whitehall (whatever happened to "Localism") with Governors appointed by the Sponsor(whatever happened to democracy) and the experiment of Academies (worst performing school in the country (Bournemouth.......A cademy!!!). ourcoalition
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Thu 18 Oct 12

Knightly says...

ourcoalition wrote:
Whitehawkian wrote:
Well, I think the writing is on the wall for a lot of these teachers, and judging by the pupils who commentated on the last walk out, it will be atrociously spelt.
At least they are fighting back against an Academy, run by Whitehall (whatever happened to "Localism") with Governors appointed by the Sponsor(whatever happened to democracy) and the experiment of Academies (worst performing school in the country (Bournemouth.......A

cademy!!!).
Well, on the other side of the coin, so to speak, there is Norwich......
Four years ago it was the fourth-worst performing school in the country. Only six out of every hundred pupils obtained five A* to C grade passes at GCSE, including maths and English. Now its pupils are brimming with a new sense of confidence – spending three years instead of two on their GCSE studies, starting them at the age of 13.

For good measure, one classroom is filled with ex-military personnel attempting to boost the performance of pupils on the cusp of getting a C grade pass. They have also extended the school day, with lessons continuing until 3.40pm, instead of ending at 3pm.

Welcome to the City Academy in Norwich, which emerged from the ashes of former failing Earlham High School less than three years ago. It sounds like the school of the future – Education Secretary Michael Gove's hand-picked team reviewing the national curriculum put forward the idea of spending three years on GCSE-level study in their interim report just before Christmas.

They believed it warranted further investigation and, if they put that recommendation into practice, they would do well to visit the pioneering City Academy.

Its extension of the school day has helped it complete the Key Stage 3 curriculum (designed for 11 to 14-year-olds) in two years instead of three. "I think we're doing it differently to the way the national curriculum review suggested," says David Brunton, Academy principal. "They were thinking of three years of study for each subject. We're saying if a student has a passion for a subject they can do it in the first year – and then move on to something else."

The school offers its pupils all the ingredients of the English Baccalaureate – which is given to pupils who obtain five A* to C grade passes, including maths, English, science, a foreign language and a humanities subject, either history or geography.

The extra time devoted to GCSE study, though, does not mean that other areas of the curriculum are phased out – one of the main criticisms levelled at Mr Gove's new qualification. In all, pupils at City Academy have on offer a total of 63 different courses to study. "There's photography and dance as well as history and geography," says Mr Brunton. "Our lower school (years seven and eight) do Latin, and we've also introduced Spanish alongside French and German." Something for everyone, then, really should be the school's motto.

There is also room in the timetable for some of the pupils to start on their A-level studies in their last GCSE years.

The school is following the philosophy advocated in the seminal inquiry into exams by former chief schools inspector, Sir Mike Tomlinson, (which was never implemented in full) that the curriculum should be "stage not age", ie pupils should tackle subjects when they are ready for them, rather than at some pre-determined age.

Over to the ex-military crew busying themselves with those struggling to obtain a C grade pass. They are members of Anglia Adventure, which provides a range of activities for schools. On the day I visited the school they were helping their class brush up on vocational studies, which could boost their overall performance.

Ian Williams, head of the organisation, says: "I've seen big changes introduced in this school. It's on the up."

The upshot of all this is that the Academy – which wrestled with the inheritance of just six per cent of pupils getting five top grade passes at GCSE, including maths and English, – has now seen the figure rise to 40 per cent, thus achieving and bettering the Government's "floor" target for all schools of 35 per cent. That figure is set to rise again this year, heading for 50 per cent. Its improvements are set to be highlighted in the Government's exams league tables due to be published later today.

Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, has described it as a "good school with outstanding features". In other measures, too, it has also seen a remarkable turnaround. When Mr Brunton arrived it was in the bottom percentile in the value-added league table, which measures how much schools have improved upon what their pupils were expected to achieve when they arrived at the age of 11. He came with an impressive track record as head of nearby Wymondham High School, which was at one stage the top performing non-selective state school in the country at A-level. It also beat a number of selective grammar schools. He had also worked in a school in challenging circumstances beforehand. Three years on, and the City Academy is in the top one per cent for the whole country for its value-added score.

Attendance has improved, too. "Attendance was 81 per cent and persistent attendance less than 80 per cent," he says. "Attendance is now running at 93 per cent."

One of the obstacles the school had to tackle was behaviour. "It was an unsafe place," Mr Brunton says. "Students wandered around, refused to follow reasonable instructions and truancy was quite rife. Staff were staying in their rooms." One of his first actions was to introduce a "respect" agenda to the school, that pupils respected their fellow pupils and their teachers. Gradually, exclusions for poor behaviour diminished to the extent that only one pupil in each of the last two years has been permanently excluded.

Improved behaviour is one of the issues singled out by pupils who were present under the previous regime before the switch to academy status. Shahrukh Zaffar, aged 14, says: "It has changed a lot in many ways. When we were in year seven the behaviour was not very good. People weren't motivated and nobody really wanted to learn."

Kayleigh Willetts, aged 15, adds: "We've got a new range of teachers now and they help you."

The school, which is jointly sponsored by its neighbours, the University of East Anglia and City College, is getting ready for a £22m rebuild, which will lead to new buildings opening later this year.

It was one of the last programmes to squeeze through under Labour's "Building Schools for the Future" programme, before the Coalition scrapped the scheme. Teachers at City Academy believe the fresh new facilities will give them further room for improvement, while the old school buildings are knocked down to provide more sports facilities for pupils.

If we are talking about implementing the Gove agenda for the future, it is also ahead of the game in another respect.

Earlier this month, Mr Gove talked of the need to improve technology teaching – calling for the old-style information and communication technology lessons to be scrapped and backing the introduction of more searching computer science GCSEs. Again, that is already happening at City Academy.

However, there is one respect in which it might be adopting a more liberal approach than that its masters espouse. It does not seek the banning of mobile phones from the classroom, believing that, in a digital age – and used properly – they can be a valuable tool to aid learning.
[quote][p][bold]ourcoalition[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Whitehawkian[/bold] wrote: Well, I think the writing is on the wall for a lot of these teachers, and judging by the pupils who commentated on the last walk out, it will be atrociously spelt.[/p][/quote]At least they are fighting back against an Academy, run by Whitehall (whatever happened to "Localism") with Governors appointed by the Sponsor(whatever happened to democracy) and the experiment of Academies (worst performing school in the country (Bournemouth.......A cademy!!!).[/p][/quote]Well, on the other side of the coin, so to speak, there is Norwich...... Four years ago it was the fourth-worst performing school in the country. Only six out of every hundred pupils obtained five A* to C grade passes at GCSE, including maths and English. Now its pupils are brimming with a new sense of confidence – spending three years instead of two on their GCSE studies, starting them at the age of 13. For good measure, one classroom is filled with ex-military personnel attempting to boost the performance of pupils on the cusp of getting a C grade pass. They have also extended the school day, with lessons continuing until 3.40pm, instead of ending at 3pm. Welcome to the City Academy in Norwich, which emerged from the ashes of former failing Earlham High School less than three years ago. It sounds like the school of the future – Education Secretary Michael Gove's hand-picked team reviewing the national curriculum put forward the idea of spending three years on GCSE-level study in their interim report just before Christmas. They believed it warranted further investigation and, if they put that recommendation into practice, they would do well to visit the pioneering City Academy. Its extension of the school day has helped it complete the Key Stage 3 curriculum (designed for 11 to 14-year-olds) in two years instead of three. "I think we're doing it differently to the way the national curriculum review suggested," says David Brunton, Academy principal. "They were thinking of three years of study for each subject. We're saying if a student has a passion for a subject they can do it in the first year – and then move on to something else." The school offers its pupils all the ingredients of the English Baccalaureate – which is given to pupils who obtain five A* to C grade passes, including maths, English, science, a foreign language and a humanities subject, either history or geography. The extra time devoted to GCSE study, though, does not mean that other areas of the curriculum are phased out – one of the main criticisms levelled at Mr Gove's new qualification. In all, pupils at City Academy have on offer a total of 63 different courses to study. "There's photography and dance as well as history and geography," says Mr Brunton. "Our lower school (years seven and eight) do Latin, and we've also introduced Spanish alongside French and German." Something for everyone, then, really should be the school's motto. There is also room in the timetable for some of the pupils to start on their A-level studies in their last GCSE years. The school is following the philosophy advocated in the seminal inquiry into exams by former chief schools inspector, Sir Mike Tomlinson, (which was never implemented in full) that the curriculum should be "stage not age", ie pupils should tackle subjects when they are ready for them, rather than at some pre-determined age. Over to the ex-military crew busying themselves with those struggling to obtain a C grade pass. They are members of Anglia Adventure, which provides a range of activities for schools. On the day I visited the school they were helping their class brush up on vocational studies, which could boost their overall performance. Ian Williams, head of the organisation, says: "I've seen big changes introduced in this school. It's on the up." The upshot of all this is that the Academy – which wrestled with the inheritance of just six per cent of pupils getting five top grade passes at GCSE, including maths and English, – has now seen the figure rise to 40 per cent, thus achieving and bettering the Government's "floor" target for all schools of 35 per cent. That figure is set to rise again this year, heading for 50 per cent. Its improvements are set to be highlighted in the Government's exams league tables due to be published later today. Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, has described it as a "good school with outstanding features". In other measures, too, it has also seen a remarkable turnaround. When Mr Brunton arrived it was in the bottom percentile in the value-added league table, which measures how much schools have improved upon what their pupils were expected to achieve when they arrived at the age of 11. He came with an impressive track record as head of nearby Wymondham High School, which was at one stage the top performing non-selective state school in the country at A-level. It also beat a number of selective grammar schools. He had also worked in a school in challenging circumstances beforehand. Three years on, and the City Academy is in the top one per cent for the whole country for its value-added score. Attendance has improved, too. "Attendance was 81 per cent and persistent attendance less than 80 per cent," he says. "Attendance is now running at 93 per cent." One of the obstacles the school had to tackle was behaviour. "It was an unsafe place," Mr Brunton says. "Students wandered around, refused to follow reasonable instructions and truancy was quite rife. Staff were staying in their rooms." One of his first actions was to introduce a "respect" agenda to the school, that pupils respected their fellow pupils and their teachers. Gradually, exclusions for poor behaviour diminished to the extent that only one pupil in each of the last two years has been permanently excluded. Improved behaviour is one of the issues singled out by pupils who were present under the previous regime before the switch to academy status. Shahrukh Zaffar, aged 14, says: "It has changed a lot in many ways. When we were in year seven the behaviour was not very good. People weren't motivated and nobody really wanted to learn." Kayleigh Willetts, aged 15, adds: "We've got a new range of teachers now and they help you." The school, which is jointly sponsored by its neighbours, the University of East Anglia and City College, is getting ready for a £22m rebuild, which will lead to new buildings opening later this year. It was one of the last programmes to squeeze through under Labour's "Building Schools for the Future" programme, before the Coalition scrapped the scheme. Teachers at City Academy believe the fresh new facilities will give them further room for improvement, while the old school buildings are knocked down to provide more sports facilities for pupils. If we are talking about implementing the Gove agenda for the future, it is also ahead of the game in another respect. Earlier this month, Mr Gove talked of the need to improve technology teaching – calling for the old-style information and communication technology lessons to be scrapped and backing the introduction of more searching computer science GCSEs. Again, that is already happening at City Academy. However, there is one respect in which it might be adopting a more liberal approach than that its masters espouse. It does not seek the banning of mobile phones from the classroom, believing that, in a digital age – and used properly – they can be a valuable tool to aid learning. Knightly
  • Score: 0

4:53pm Thu 18 Oct 12

ourcoalition says...

Rather than write an entire essay, as Knightly does, I would refer you to the Anti Academies website for a range of reports - perhaps more balanced than one bad story from me and one good one in response.
That, and ask the question why Mr Gove's underlings suggested last week, that profit making businesses be allowed to take over "failing schools", and specifically Academies.
I admit, I object to privatisation as a matter of principle, but I also object. more strongly, to an experiment with our children's education - there is no fact based evidence that the Academy scheme will work, and, even worse, from the current evidence, the results are very mixed. On that basis alone, as with any experiment, a halt should be called while an objective assessment is made.
That will not happen, as this is part of the wider political agenda, to break up the public sector, just because it is the public sector.
Rather than write an entire essay, as Knightly does, I would refer you to the Anti Academies website for a range of reports - perhaps more balanced than one bad story from me and one good one in response. That, and ask the question why Mr Gove's underlings suggested last week, that profit making businesses be allowed to take over "failing schools", and specifically Academies. I admit, I object to privatisation as a matter of principle, but I also object. more strongly, to an experiment with our children's education - there is no fact based evidence that the Academy scheme will work, and, even worse, from the current evidence, the results are very mixed. On that basis alone, as with any experiment, a halt should be called while an objective assessment is made. That will not happen, as this is part of the wider political agenda, to break up the public sector, just because it is the public sector. ourcoalition
  • Score: 0

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