Wednesday 7 November 2007

Stoke and standards

St Joseph's College in Stoke-on-Trent is up in arms because of plans by the local authority - whose education and children's services functions were so bad that the government forced the council to outsource them to Serco - to shut the college as part of a planned reorganisation which will see the number of secondary schools in the authority cut from 17 to 12. Now, there is undoubtedly a good case for cutting the schools and replacing a number of them with Academies, through the Building Schools for the Future programme. But one has to wonder whose daft idea it was to threaten St Joseph's in the process. Interestingly, it is not a diocesan school - and the head is clear that the local Catholic archdiocese has said it already has enough capacity with two other Catholic schools in the area. But with a value-added score (for some reason ignored on the school's own website) above average and a rating of 'good with outstanding features' by Ofsted, this school could be a lead partner in any imaginative BSF arrangement. The council should be careful not to allow ideological objections to the school's grammar status to outweight the potential for a deal that would benefit far more Stoke pupils. After all, they clearly need all the help they can get to raise standards.


Anonymous said...

Doh! A few rather significant mistakes here.

The BSF plan for Stoke entails closing St. Joseph's on 31st August 2010 and.. for the Archdiocese to reopen it on 1st September 2010. It's a paper exercise needed to get them lots of lovely shiney new buildings. What's more, the admissions policy is a matter entirely for the Trustees. Stoke-on-Trent City Council doesn't have any intention of stopping them being selective. So storm.. teacup etc.

Conor Ryan said...

I'm glad to hear it - if this is the case. I was going by the media reports, which admittedly aren't always the most reliable source!

Anonymous said...

anonymous poster 1 - a few mistakes from you too!!

Schools are no longer allowed to open as a selective school in England and therefore closing, even for one day, will not enable them o reopen as a selective school.

It is not a paper exercise, the staff and ethos of the school will change as all teachers in Stoke will have to apply for - and be subjected to ' competitive interview' - positions within the schools that are reopening. St joes has managed to draw together a quality staff that I would like to see educate not only my son currently in year 7 until year 13, but also others for years to come.

Someone disrupting the most successful school in the city is NOT a sorm in a teacup if you are a concerned parent.

I am reminded of King Solomon sharing the baby - only people who do not really care or are performing below standard are for all the schools being closed. Those who really love the school want it to survive at any cost.

Unknown said...

As time goes on, the more scary this story becomes. Stoke seems commited to it's vision; despite what channel 4 news described as an 'unprecidented' public meeting, a 3,500+ petition on Downing Street, numerous press articles and many angry e-mails!

Another problem is the Archdiocese, who have never liked St. Joseph's since it entered the state system from the independent sector 10 years ago. They say that if the school closes, even technically, for 24hours, they will not allow it to reopen with it's entrance exam even if the government deems St. Joseph's to be a replacement for a grammar school - a possibility.

CAn I refer you to, but most importantly ask you to spare afew seconds e-mailing with afew comments.

Thankyou for your excellent comments, have a good Christmas and please don't forget that e-mail!

Many thanks, Nick Deakin.