Latest local news from Andover Advertiser, October 4th
Tidworth councillor Mark Connolly (formerly the chair of governors of the predecessor school to Wellington Academy, as well as an Academy governor until last summer – and most recently the advocate of football manager syndrome, see Advertiser 6th Sept) told town councillors that he has held a meeting with Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College, to discuss the situation at Wellington Academy following the departure of principal Andy Schofield.
Cllr Connolly, who represents Tidworth at County Hall, said: “It was a candid meeting. We (sic) were heartened by the things we heard about discipline which may have been a bit lacking in recent times. There are not going to be any quick changes at the top – Mike Milner will continue in post until a new principal is appointed.”
He added that the governors may take some time to make the right choice. (All very odd, given the recent advertisement for the post in the TES and Guardian.)
Plans for the academy to expand have also emerged, with a new sixth form block open on the nearby Castledown Business Park – freeing up around 300 additional places in the main academy building. Meanwhile in Tidworth work on a new primary school is expected to begin in November on the North East Quadrant housing site. (Due to open September 2014, sponsored by Wellington College).
Principal must be reinstated (letter Andover Advertiser, Sept 20)
I felt I had to write to add my voice to last week’s correspondence concerning Andy Schofield and the Wellington Academy.
The front page story of 6 September gave the impression that Mr Schofield left the Academy following poor GCSE results. Yet in your paper of 13 September (under the headline “Ensuring all pupils strive to succeed”) was a very different view of the results. It seems that 93 per cent of Wellington students achieved five or more A* -C grades in GCSE and 77 per cent achieved eight ormore A* -C.
These results seem extremely good for a non-selective state school and would accord with your previous correspondent’s view that the students of WellingtonAcademy get enough exam passes to move on in life.
They may not all be in the GCSE subjects valued by Dr Seldon and Wellington College but, for some kids, they are more than enough to begin to break the cycle of social deprivation.
If I were still an Academy parent I would be petitioning the governors to bring back Andy Schofield, as I feel he has been unjustly forced out for reasons that, in light of the above, are now unclear.
I know anecdotes aren’t evidence, but I would like to share the following with your readers. My son was given a place in the Wellington Academy sixth form when no other post-16 educational opportunity was available. He enjoyed his year there. made valuable progress in core subjects and took the Applied Learning Construction course. This enabled him to get a place on a training scheme with a major house-builder and he is learning valuable skills for today’s job market.
There has to be some room in state education for children like my son, and I fail to see how the master of rarefied Wellington College (Tatler Magazine’s Top Private School 2013; famous old boys Rory Bremner, Will Young, Sebastian Faulks and James Hunt) can offer more than an experienced state school head like Andy Schofield. If there is justice, he will be reinstated soon.
Ms Miriam Moreton, Kings Chase, Andover
Conflicting figures of Wellington results (letter Andover Advertiser Sept 20)
Following on from the excellent letter in last week’s Advertiser it would appear the regime in charge have had the spin doctor’s working overtime.
As parents we were issued an email on August 30 that stated ‘following this year’s GCSE results Andy Schofield has left the Academy today.’ The reports in the national and local press merely detailed the slump from 47% to 37% in 5 GCSE A*-C including maths and English. There was no reference to the excellent A level results two weeks before and the fact 28 students were offered university places.
In fact the A level report has been deleted from the Academy website.
Parents then received an email / letter on September 6, three days after school started reassuring that although the headline figure of 37 per cent was indeed disappointing and well below expectations at the same time we would point out that some of the results the school received were very good indeed. For example, 93 per cent of students achieved 5 or more A*-C in GCSEs, well above the 2012 National average of 81.1 per cent, and 85 per cent of students achieved 8 or more A*-C GCSEs. We made notable progress with the top grades, nearly double the 2012 figures.
The A level results were also excellent overall. Facts that were not referred to in the information released following Andy Schofield’s departure.
Over the past four years Wellington Academy has grown under the excellent guidance and leadership of Andy Schofield, the rapport between him, the SLT and the students was exceptional, him and his team stuck to their strap line and ‘Changing Lives’. It would appear there has been a lack of clarity in the information issued to parents. How can any trust be forged when information changes in seven days?
30 August 2013 was a sad day for Wellington Academy, but will ultimately prove to be another education establishments gain.
M Collins, Spray Leaze, Ludgershall
Great blog on supporting governors
And still relevant:
Last week’s rioting and some of the knee-jerk reaction reminded me that one of our governors, Anthony Salz, chaired an independent commission into youth crime and antisocial behaviour last year. The report entitled Time for a fresh start, takes an unusually thoughtful look at this vexed area and is worthy of wider consideration.
Earlier this year, Anthony was appointed as lead non-executive board member at the Department for Education.
Here’s the link to the new health & safety executive papers on 10 myths
The DfE have published their promised guide lines into removing some of the burdens on schools. The media have focussed on the bits about school trips, but there’s more than that in the announcement.
They refer to a new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) document School trips and outdoor learning activities: Tackling the health and safety myths, which I’ve yet to track down.
I await their revised guidelines on safeguarding with interest.