Thursday, 11 February 2010

All things education

Everyone is no doubt aware of the disappointing headlines in the Shepton Mallet Journal concerning the recent OFSTED report conducted at Infant School in Waterloo Road.

It is somewhat ironic that today I attended a meeting to select candidates for interview for the new Headteacher at Whitstone School. The previous Headteacher at Whitstone was an excellent leader of the school, so it is imperative we selected an exceptional replacement.

As readers of this site will remember, I had the greatest pleasure in addressing the most successful year group in Whistone's history last November at their presentation evening, these young people started school when I first became a governor at the Infants School. So being able to celebrate with them was special.

It is clearly very difficult to comment on the Infants School Ofsted report as I have no contact with the school, having finished my governorship seven years ago.

It goes without saying that education achievement play a critical role in shaping the life chances of our young people, it is the single most important element that allows social mobility and allows greater life choices.

More generally education relates to people intellectual, emotional and moral development, which has implications for all aspects of life, from a sense of self and relationships within families to community and to a sense of civil society.

For these reasons it is critical that the current problems at the Infant School are resolved.

It is absolutely imperative that high quality leadership is in place, with personalised learning plans for every student that challenges and stimulates, that records each child's achievement. With everyone celebrating every child's achievement openly.

Clearly the school does many things well and are rated as 'good', the Safeguarding of children is rated good with children feeling safe within the school as is the Special Educational Needs. The teaching assistants are credited with working exceptionally hard to allow pupils to learn.

I would hate to think that any section of our community is stigmatised by the reporting of the Ofsted report, for me every child matters, where ever they live, who ever there parents are.

I have for some time believed that Shepton would be better served if we had a Primary School, this to replace the two Infant Schools and the Junior School.

In terms of budgets, if the same amount was spent as is today, more money could be redirected to children's education. This would be allowed by reducing the three headteachers and there deputies to be replaced by a smaller management team, that would attract a high quality headteacher as the salary and post would more attractive.

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