I’ve received this letter which may spark some debate. As a result, B & B has decided to create a new category for people’s views to be submitted, rather like a letters page. Obviously, usual rules apply! This letter is critical of not only Route 39 but also of academisation. I will doubtless be criticised for agreeing to print this, but I am equally happy to print other viewpoints on a variety of subjects including this one. A debate is healthy. People will have various thoughts on the subjects raised. Please submit them to this page for moderation.
Apologies for not submitting my name but as a local school employee, I need a little bit of anonymity.
Recent conversations with fellow educational professionals have highlighted that the smart money appears to be on Route 39 eventually opening its doors not as a Free School but as an Academy. The original vision promoted by the founding parental group for the ‘Free’ school (a term I have always found nonsensical) now appears dead and buried. It is almost a certainty that when the doors finally open for business that it will be as a member of a MAT (Multi Academy Trust).
The ‘brokerage’, as it is being designated, will be as a direct result of the recent appalling Ofsted condemnation and the fact that no Year 11s were entered for GCSEs. It’s more than a little ironic that Ofsted Inspectors said teachers had failed to promote sufficient progress for pupils BUT believed they could have succeeded in the exams had they been entered.
(The school was thought to have breached its statutory requirements and its funding agreement by holding back the entire year group).
The original ‘dream’ of a local ‘Free’ school lies shattered on the floor like a plate at a Greek wedding.
The great Route 39 tragedy is that none of this will do any of the local community’s future pupils any good in the short or long term (it’s not just R39 pupils that will suffer).
It’s plain to see that Academy Status can be a significant millstone around any school’s neck, where teaching is secondary to the running of the school as a business and where teaching is no longer viewed as a desirable or positive vocation by those at the chalkface.
The colossal costs of the R39 vanity project directly impact all those pupils in local secondary schools by depriving them of greatly needed, and in some cases, vital funding.
Apart from the initial £3,000,000 paid for the site, it’s hard to find evidence online of the final, overall financial costs of another of Mr Gove’s follies.
So the free school will not be free, it won’t even be a Free School but an academy with an appalling Ofsted record. Not quite what the founding fathers and mothers had in mind.