Some of you will know I’ve been battling and stressing over my son’s school, also the lack of any other decent schools nearby. Those new to my blog then basically the school is a Nursery to Sixth Form Academy, one of the first of it’s kind in the United Kingdom, currently in special measures and failing. There’s so much wrong there and having to tell a 4 year old the difference between bullying and accidentally bumping in to someone was not an easy discussion, nor were the days of finding new bruises that a bully had left on my son’s body.
Yesterday my son came home with a letter. This one was interesting as it had a staple, meaning it was a pretty long letter so probably very important. It was windy, cold and starting to snow so I put it away, he held the pushchair and we walked home as usual. We had the normal chat of what he ate in his lunch box, did he play outside today and the usual curious questions a 4 year old asks like “why is the snow falling on me?” and asking when we get home if he can share crisps with Petit Girl. The first not so easy to explain to a child his age but I did my best for an on-the-spot rather science-y question and of course he shared crisps with his sister.
I warmed my hands up and started to read the letter. New sponsor? Why is that? Who is this sponsor? Whose this Dame woman? She must be important to have the title Dame but why haven’t I heard of her before?
I rung my mother and we chatted the usual stuff about how the kids are doing, how the rest of the family are and what we’ve been up to and I slipped in about this new sponsor thing. It just so happened she was at her laptop and so did a quick Google. Her response was a bit concerning so I gave the kids a biscuit each to keep them quiet for a bit longer (dinner was still in the oven) and rushed to get the iPad out. I Googled this woman’s name. Dame Mo Brennan and Google suggested “Dame Maureen Brennan news” to me. Okay that’s odd but I figured Mo was short for something. Anyway she has a Wikipedia page and yes she is head of one of the other schools the trust is part of, she also happens to be the Director of this trust. But then there’s a large section on the page titled “Attendance manipulation charges”. Words I wasn’t expecting to see from someone who was given an honour started to stand out like the biggest sore thumbs I’ve seen in a long time. It talked about GCSE results, attendance records, stuff to basically make the school look good by lying and cheating the system.
I was stunned to say the least. Angered that we consider this okay. Why should children think it’s okay to cheat and lie and be rewarded for it? The line that she did it “for the children” gets used over and over. Really? That’s the sap story we all going to accept? No she didn’t, this was done to make her look like a good person, sod the kids. I dislike how schools are marked down for things often out of their control but cheating the system isn’t the way forward and we shouldn’t accept this nor allow it. If there’s a problem and schools feel the constant need to lie just to get a better report then the system is flawed.
I often saw this trick at my secondary school. Telling kids who should have been excluded to “study at home” and be marked in that fashion. But all those kids did was come to the school gate and bully other kids, throw things over the gate, they didn’t care and the school sure didn’t either. If they cared they would have helped those kids learn, not let them stand at the gate, smoking cigarettes and throwing empty cans at anyone who walked by. And if they got bored of that then they’ll go elsewhere and be a menace elsewhere. “For the children” my arse.
Currently I’m in contact with the school as best as I can be, the letter had an email although addressed to someone of the old sponsor but they replied and shall forward my concerns to the school. I’ll also be contacting our local MP to see what his thoughts are. He’s been in power here since the late 70’s and proud of many choices he’s made, including voting to allow gays to marry.