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Southwark Fire Station and the Haberdashers' Aske's Federation

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Tuesday 13 October 2015 6.28pm
Currentteacher wrote:
dee dee wrote:
and the globe GCSE pass rate for 2015 was 51% -70% is good by that standard hence the feeling that the school may be good for the area

dee dee - The point I was trying to make was that Habs doesn't do well for its students compared to other schools. I would not hold out faith that it could do any better than Globe given that it doesn't do better than nearby schools in Lewisham.
But when you look t the lack of choice we have in this area and the need for schools it is better than we have now. What parents want is a choice and a choice of good schools in the srea rather than the problems we have of so many kids applying for perceived good schools and not able to get in.

i would rather have a ILEA running London Schools than this crazy free for all system that has been introduced but it is what it is and my kid is currently going through it as are my families kids and what i want for all of them is a decent school and a decent opportunity not a lottery of what school they get accepted into. from my point of view the Askes schools may not be wonderful but the choice we have now in Southwark and in particular this part of the borough is pretty poor and some choice would be better than none
Tuesday 13 October 2015 7.28pm
To any parent: It doesn't really matter who sets up the school. If it's Askes, the kids will be safe and they'll get a good education. If it is any other Chain, I'm sure the same will apply. I empathise with CurrentTeacher and can vouch for what has been said. I know that I would want a school that really cares about my child, regardless of academic ability, and not just about its reputation and results; sadly, this is what the Aske's group of schools has become. The high turnover of staff is cause for concern because it often leads to kids being taught by supply teachers. Does anyone know if any other Group has shown an interest in setting up the school?
Tuesday 13 October 2015 10.37pm
Interestingly, the Guardian has run a story today about the high turn-over of staff in the Harris schools.
Tuesday 13 October 2015 11.44pm
High turnover seems to be the norm these days.

We were offered a place for my son at Globe Ark. As an aside, the principal was inspirational when I had a brief one-to-one with him and this seemed to rub off on the staff, all of whom clearly had high expectations and aspirations notwithstanding the poor league table performance and historical poor performance of the predecessor school - although in its latter years I think Geoffrey Chaucer had begun to turn a corner??

I had a much lengthier discussion with one of the leadership team there, who was one of the legacy Geoffrey Chaucer teachers. He had worked there for a good 25+ years - a good and old-fashioned teacher, just how I remember them. He gave an interesting insight, saying that no matter how good the salary is, the cost of living in London is too high for these teachers and that they are often not even flat-sharing but room-sharing. He gave the example an excellent English teacher, saying that they had upped her salary to retain her, recognising her talent in the classroom, but that even with her salary increase she still couldn't afford to live a decent lifestyle in London and that he thought she would probably move back home after another year as good teachers are highly sought after country-wide and she would have a much better standard of living outside of London.

My concern was more about the leadership of the school changing and in theory it all sounded good, saying they underwent internal "mini OFSTEDs" on a termly basis and that any deadwood was quickly identified and eradicated. This particular member of staff was right beyond the principal, saying that he was easily the best and most inspirational leader he had encountered in his many years of teaching, but even so at the back of my mind - knowing how these academies work - was "Well, if he's that good, he'll be a stopgap to get the school on an even keel and his leadership will go elsewhere within the federation" as the federation is looking after many schools, not just one. Sharing expertise is one thing but the fluid movement of staff is quite another.

As you say, Karen, stability is nearly as important as attainment. I take entirely at face value what is said by CurrentTeacher, as vouched for by your good self. It is an interesting insight as to what goes on behind closed doors and away from the glossy prospectuses. Surely staff need to be looked after in order to ensure our kids are being looked after, both educationally and pastorally.
Wednesday 14 October 2015 9.09am
I totally agree i want my kid to be at a school that cares about him-my own son has DCD and when changing schools my number 1 priority was to make sure the school had a good SEN depatment and that he would get support and encouragement to do well. I also want my son to be at a well run school that holds it teaching staff and has continuity but it goes back to my first point that we have such little choice of schools in our area that most parents do not care who runs the school as long as it gives the kids a decent education and opportunities.

I take the point on the cost of living putting people off teaching in London-but many other people are in the same boat-indeed i would imagine most of us are-I am not sure what the solution to this is-priority social housing for teachers? increased pay? but this could also apply to nurses, police etc etc
Wednesday 16 December 2015 7.01pm
Gavin Smith wrote:
Aske's in New Cross, going back to the late 1990s, was an excellent school and was massively oversubscribed. I have no direct experience of it - I didn't go there - but if I had a choice between, say, Harris and Aske's I'd pick the latter. I think a 74% pass rate for 5 GCSEs is very good and from my recollection of research done in preparation for my son's transition to secondary school a few months back would beat most, if not all, Southwark "state" schools.

I was told today that the actual pass rate for last year was 58%; this figure includes English and Maths.
Thursday 17 December 2015 9.38am
Hmm. 58% is not very good. Standards have slipped...
Thursday 17 December 2015 6.39pm
Thursday 17 December 2015 9.37pm
Yes Dee Dee, but what do facts count for, compared to "what I was told"?

...if you press it, they will come.
Thursday 17 December 2015 10.38pm
The figure I was quoted was by a member of staff and it is the figure that the government is using. I'll see if I can find the list and post it. (Can now confirm that DfE is stating 58% - sorry Ivanhoe, in this case the 'fact' was wrong and my friend was right). I assume the college printed it's figure excluding A-C in English and Maths. Anyway, results aren't everything; I'm more concerned that staff turnover is at an all time high. There is a reason for this, teachers always know which side their bread is buttered and would rather stay at a good school than risk a move even when promotion is concerned. Changing the topic a bit, I was trying to cross the road outside The Fire Station the other day and it really is a nightmare to cross the road there. Has anyone considered that this site is not really suitable for a large school?
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