We could all have the schools we want.

Kate Chadwick's picture
As a parent and a teacher in Newham I am very frustrated by the fear surrounding secondary education. Every conversation with the parents of the children at my son's school is poisoned with the desperation to find a good school and that there is nothing for 'people like us'. Some of these parents are even teachers in the borough and one is the local councillor and yet they send their own children out of borough to be educated. I know that the quality of teaching is better in Newham that in surrounding boroughs because I have had the opportunity to observe in many school in and outside the borough, some considered the 'best' schools in the area. The statistics bear this out. It is not about education.It is about class and race. They want their own children to go to schools with 'children like them'. The irony of course is that if they all sent their child to the local comp it would be the school they want with a genuinely mixed intake. My children go to their local school and I have worked hard for 22 years as a teacher to deliver an excellent quality of teaching and learning for my pupils. My motivation as a practitioner is to be the best I can be and to be the teacher I would want for myself and people I love. Anything less is not good enough.
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Nigel Ford's picture
Tue, 06/09/2011 - 08:42

A blog by Katherine Birbalsingh who intends to open a secondary free school in Lambeth contrasted the lack of endorsement she had received from the Shadow Education Secretary with that he conferred on Peter Hyman's notional free school which is planned in Newham (it should be noted that Hyman was previously an adviser to Anthony Blair), even though she stated that Newham did not have a massive shortage of places like Lambeth. After the complaints from the Head Teacher at Henbury school in Bristol where she says that there is no demographic need for the Bristol Free School because there are other comprehensives in the same catchment area as hers with surplus places as well as her school, one can see the argument that free schools can sometimes deprive maintained schools under local authority control of much needed resources.

But on a more specific point, is your primary school in Newham not a microcosm of the racial mix in secondary schools in the area or are primary schools more ethnically polarised in the borough, hence parents anxieties about sending their children to a comprehensive school with multiracial intakes?

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