I am writing to inform you that a local comprehensive in my area has been approved for closure. The school in question is The Wakeman School and has been approved despite gaining 61.5% A* - C inc Eng and Maths, which is a 16% rise on last years performance.
I have to admit that the closure is personal to me and my two older sisters attended the school and even when we were attending, rumours had been circulating of its closure.
This rumour, never squashed by the Council, led to a self - fulfilling prophecy in which parents in droves stated they would send their children to The Wakeman but were told the school would close. It was only when it was officially announced that the examples of primary school heads parents not to send their children to The Wakeman, years before, came out. As a result, pupil numbers collapsed and the Council got ready to wield the axe.
Personally, I thought that they had a case on purely educational grounds. I have always stated it is hard to defend a school which gets less than 50% A*-C inc Eng & Maths. What I found bizarre is that a decision was to be made before these years results came out. However, the consultation had to be re-opened reported because places granted to The Wakeman pupils didn't exist. The school in question has now had to disrupt pupils’ education at another school for Wakeman pupils who have already left, making the notion of there being a smooth transition ridiculous.
More sinister however, is the adjacent empty plot of land where Shrewsbury Town F.C football ground used to reside. It has now passed through the hands of several property developer/speculators (depending on your view), who despite housing shortages, didn't build on it. The plot thickens...
Even at the school, we knew what the hold up was. If you were making luxury properties at a scenic river location, the last thing you want is children next door. So low and behold. Just as it was all but a done deal the school would close, development starts. There is a tide of feeling that believes that the interest of developers has been put before children’s education. It is also an example of a council not supporting its local comprehensives, a cause I believe that the LSN fights for.
I'm going to be honest, it's already late in the day. Not only have pupils but some of the best teachers have also done a runner. Some have had to take early retirement and as teachers are laid off because of a lack of pupils to take their subject, morale has to have been hit. I hold no ill will to those teachers who have jumped, they have mortgaged to pay and families to feed.
My concern is for the pupils who will be left with a lack of teachers who have expertise of subjects, a disrupted education and many forced to leave whilst taking their G.C.S.Es. So as I said, it's late in the game ... but not over.
I must also admit, I share a different view to this site on many issues. I don't like the view that "Some children aren't best for academic subjects" because "some children" always ends up meaning working class children, which is as patronising as you can get. I don't like our comprehensive system as it confines working class kids to the worst schools purely on wealth (or lack of) regardless of their ability.
I despise the fact that many kids, working class kids, are pushed to do BTECs and other soft options which damages their future prospects just to help a schools league tables results. I will admit to the ultimate sin, I think academies and free schools are a massive improvement on what we have now.
This isn't the issue for now though, it's about something far more important. That is, the education of those who have been left behind. So I am asking you to see if you can do anything at all to raise the profile on behalf of The Wakeman,
Whether it's writing a letter of support to the Head and pupils, running an article for the school or, what would be welcomed, dragging one of your prominent figureheads to pay a visit.