Ofsted reports are failing schools that are different - plea to save community school specialising in care of vulnerable young people from closure

David King's picture

I had a very difficult time of it when I went to school in the 1960's and early 70's, experiencing poor teaching, dreadful bullying from pupils and staff, spending my days trying to disappear into the background so now one noticed me, almost never visiting the toilets for fear of being beaten up. The classroom held no pleasure for me and I hated anything that meant I needed to read aloud. I had a friend who helped me and for that I am grateful but school wasn't exactly 'the best days of my life'.

I became a self employed foster carer working with Foster Care associates about 8 years ago, I had fostered before for the LA but having taken on the permanent care of a baby boy we spent 17 years raising him. I have self-educated and have a level 3 NVQ in Child Care of which I am very proud, but it took me until I was in my 40's to achieve this qualification.

When the Government of the day introduced a national curriculum and created Ofsted to inspect schools I hoped it would 'level the playing field' by enabling the schools of Britain to become comparable and the standard of education would be lifted. I have been very disappointed! the educational experience and outcomes for many children today are so similar to that which I experienced that it can cause me to experience a deeply felt empathy.

As a Foster Carer I am (with my wife) caring for two children a girl of 13 and her brother that is 14 - the girl attends a school called Skerton Community High School - it is a Mainstream Community High School but it has specialised in caring for vulnerable young people. this school is threatened with closure because it doesn't meet Ofsted standards. Lancaster CC placed a Closure Consultation on the school in September this year. 53% of the young people in this school are SEN and to close it will mean that 160+ pupils will be allocated places in another school in the local schools where their needs will not be properly met. We are campaigning to save the school.


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