I am a socialist and member of the Labour party I am opposed to much of the damage done to the comprehensive system under the previous New Labour government. However what the coalition is doing is taking the destruction of state education even further. I stood as a parent governor to oppose any opt out of the school to defend it as a good local school for all, to defend it s diversity of intake and its mix of ability. Yes I had some concerns about the school and I will and have taken some of that on. Here is the address I stood on 12 month ago:
Election Statement for parent governor
My name is Andrew Berry I would like to be a parent governor for Highbury Grove School I am single parent and have two Daughters at the school aged 11 and 14. I think in many ways the school is a good school and an important school being a local school for all local children what ever their background. Highbury Grove has previously been criticized unjustly for failing standards, when it is in fact improving faster then many of the government so called flag ship academy schools. I think the new building looks amazing and obviously the settling in of the children to the new building has to be the first priority
However there are a number of things I would like to see change. The main points I am standing on are:
• More openness, accountability and consultation.
• Review of Uniform policy.
• Reconsideration of relationship with the Army.
I think the governors seem very distant. I can not recall any correspondence from the governors in the 3 years my older Daughter has been at the school. There should be at least one open meeting between governors and parents, teachers, other school workers and children each year where non-confidential questions and concerns can be raised directly. I would like to see the use of more technology to involve parents and keep them updated both, in particular more use of the internet and email (although bearing in mind that not all parents have access to such technology so all information would need to be available as before when required). I personally pledge to report back using a blog which all parents can then comment on.
An example of this lack of consultation occurred with recent changes to the school uniform. I would like to see a review of the school uniform policy. I would also like to see a uniform which the vast majority of items can be bought in high street shops and make sure that it is easily affordable by all parents and carers. Eventually I would like to see a much simpler uniform then the current ones. I would also hope to ensure that any review sees current parents and parent of children at feeder schools as well as the children themselves fully consulted. When changes happen there should be a period after the change when older uniforms are accepted to allow for the passing on of part-worn items to younger children.
I am very concerned about the schools relationship with the Army I found it disturbing that the Army were explaining “conflict resolution” in classes to children as young as 12. I think it naive for the school to view this as innocent, the armed forces clearly want to encourage children to sign up when they are 16 by presenting themselves a normal career path and at time of economic recession it may be the only job available and this is something that is very worrying to many parents. There is nothing normal about a job where you can be ordered to risk your life or to kill people. There are plenty of other way to explore conflict resolution and team building with out using the army.
Previous Experience - up until recently I was the main negotiator on education maters for Islington UNISON, the largest trade Union in Islington council. As a result I know lot about how education is structured and I am aware of the responsibilities of the Head Teacher, Governor, the Council and the Government. I know many people in the local education authority as well as local councillors and have links with both local MP’s.
I am a member of Campaign for State Education (CASE), which opposed the privatisation of education in Islington. I support the Anti Academy Alliance (AAA), which is against the introduction of academy schools, which are far less accountable to parents, carers, and elected bodies and which have a negative effect on schools like Highbury