Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Swanage School (places)

I understand that a number of parents have tried to apply for The Swanage School using the Dorset County Council form - but am told that this form won't reach them, and they won’t be able to guarantee you a place at the school unless you have completed the application form provided by the school.

You can apply via the website at www.theswanageschool.co.uk or contact their Admissions Team for a paper application form on 07757 319605 or by emailing admissions@theswanageschool.co.uk

218 comments:

1 – 200 of 218   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

I see that a large blue banner stating “THE SWANAGE SCHOOL – OPENING HERE SOON!” has appeared on the railings by the High Street\Washpond Lane junction! Isn’t this a bit premature bearing in mind that final agreement has yet to be reached with DCC and PDC have yet to consider the plans?

Anonymous said...

Has the planning even been submitted yet? It certainly isn't approved yet. It is yet another example of Education Swanage deliberately misleading people.

Anonymous said...

There's certainly a presumption, arrogance even, that planning permission will definitely be granted - come what may.

Anonymous said...

Think about it. A tory overnement's flagship policy, a tory council most of whose members support the free school, at least in public. Plans drawn up by a firm that knows what it can expect to be acceptable. A site already used for education. Orders, sorry "guidance", from on high to pass all plans for buildings of a sustainable nature, with no definition of what that means. Hardly going to say no are they.

So Swanage gets what is in all but name a new modern secondary school for 11 to 16 with no 6th form and a commitment to pass on to its pupils skills based in the locality. The pupils will be taught on the same site from preschool (2) to 16 and learn how to cool, wait on table and do a bit of building, these being the skills to be found in the community.

When history repeats itself it is supposed to be farce the second time round. So far Education Swanage have delivered in this respect but I fear it will turn into tragedy for the children trapped here for their entire education.

Anonymous said...

With respect I think that’s a rather narrow minded view – despite some perceptions the truth is that Swanage is not a closed community and has many external and outward looking links. There are many other successful 11-16 schools in England and I’m sure that the Purbeck School would be more than happy to sign some kind of partnership agreement with the new Swanage School regarding sixth form provision. I certainly hope they would.

My concerns about planning are far more mundane. The Transport Statement issued by Education Swanage (ES) to support the original outline planning application for the Grammar School site highlighted just how dangerous the High Street was in the Middle School area. If all the current plans come to fruition there will be upwards of 600 children accessing the site every weekday – a third of them primary school aged. ES are being cagey about what the take-up has been during their current admissions process. However, they have indicated that there has been a degree of interest from outside of the catchment area. Despite their noises about encouraging pupils to walk, scoot or cycle to school there will inevitably be a high level of road traffic in the immediate vicinity of the new schools. The risks this raises need to be dealt with in an open and honest manner as parents of the younger children are particularly concerned about the safety issues involved.

Anonymous said...

If you ask any young person in Swanage (and I mean those of secondary age) what they think of a secondary here the very first thing they say without going into any of the politics is 'Why on earth would we want to spend our entire schooling here, can't think of anything worse'. Those that have finished their schooling, whatever they may have thought of Purbeck, wholly appreciate the fact that they got out and met a new set of friends from other towns.

Anonymous said...

The same old left wing, union backed anti free school voices posting here now with their Swanage is isolated nonesense and that our kids need to go to a school in Wareham to have any chance in life.

Wareham, a place where they can meet interesting people from the four corners of our earth (well from Sandford and Bere Regis at least) where they can marvel at the feat of civil engineering that is the `bypass` and be amazed at the evolutionary differences between themselves and those from the outside world.

Why not just admit politically you dont agree with free schools instead of trying to justify your opposition by using “not in the childrens interests” arguments.

Anonymous said...

The same old left wing, union backed anti free school voices posting here now with their Swanage is isolated nonesense and that our kids need to go to a school in Wareham to have any chance in life.

Wareham, a place where they can meet interesting people from the four corners of our earth (well from Sandford and Bere Regis at least) where they can marvel at the feat of civil engineering that is the `bypass` and be amazed at the evolutionary differences between themselves and those from the outside world.

Why not just admit politically you dont agree with free schools instead of trying to justify your opposition by using “not in the childrens interests” arguments.

Anonymous said...

Certainly, if you will agree free schools are part of the union bashing, pay cutting right wing agenda we have had since the 70s and any claims they can improve standards are merely a camouflage for this.

Anonymous said...

As i have no particular political affiliations i am happy to agree that the free school program is probably as you say, "union bashing, pay cutting right wing agenda"
The fact remains that there is a demand and support for secondary education in Swanage and a free school seems to be the way to achieve this.

Tumshie said...

I think it is absolutely fantastic that DCC and ES have managed to agree to this site - it takes away all the planning issues and bad blood (that had clearly developed with the landowner) away and allows ES to move forward in a positive manner.

I looked at the ES website and thought how well it had been put together to encourage parents to apply for a space at this school. The new headmaster seems a dynamic individual up for a challenge. All seems well and set fair for a new school in the next 12 - 18 months. However I maybe missed something and I am sure that I will be advised - how is all this ongoing work being funded? Where does the head draw his salary from? Has the DfSE already provided a grant towards the development of the proposals including staff costs. And if so hopw much>

Anonymous said...

There is no argument that there is a "demand" in the sense that many people would like there to be a secondary school here, after all, hsving services locslly is better thsn hsving them st a distance, however, when it comes to a secondary school I came to the conclusion that a tiny school is so fatelly compromised that the benefits are outweighted by the snags.

The Swanage school was proposed before the last election and was a response to the DCC consultation over reorganising schools in Purbeck. The free school business came along after DCC had turned it down. I thought it was a bad idea from the beginning so my view of Mr Gove's innovation does not really come into it.

Anonymous said...

If this new school does open, I hope that OFSTED is all over it from the start - no concessions, no kid glove treatment. Swanage kids need the best start in life, and a generation cannot wait while the school sorts itself. If it is run to cut costs, then it is unlikely to be good.

Anonymous said...

28/10/12 12:52 PM

28/10/12 12:53 PM

So absurd - you had to post it twice?


Anonymous said...

Absurd indeed, why would anybody want secondary education in Swanage ? I must be the only parent making an application.

Posted twice to annoy you, I will do the same with this one.

Anonymous said...

Absurd indeed, why would anybody want secondary education in Swanage ? I must be the only parent making an application.
Posted twice to annoy you, I will do the same with this one.

Anonymous said...

You have twins???

Anonymous said...

On a subject connected to Free Schools. Gove has recently announced that new State School teachers will have to pass entrance exams at a higher level before they will be accepted for teacher training programmes. I fully support this. However, as I understand it, this will not apply to teachers in the Free school system, who are not required to have any formal teaching qualifications what so ever. How does this tally with the claim that Free Schools will offer an education, at least as good as, if not superior to the State School system?

Anonymous said...

Interesting point re. teacher's qualifications. The Free School of course only intends to recruit 'hand picked', 'off the shelf' 'outstanding' teachers. Interesting to see how it will all pan out.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it make more sense to have both the primary schools on the middle school site and the free school at the north end of the Northbrook road site.

I take the point made earlier about road safety. The one thing we can rely on is that these parents who think 11 year olds are too delicate to sit on a bus for twenty minutes or so are not going to make them walk up to Herston or along Northbrook Road on a wet and windy day despite all the verbiage about not using cars put out by ES.

Anonymous said...

The Purbeck School has an excellent headteacher. The Swanage School has an excellent headteacher.

It would be in the interests of governors and headteachers of both schools to want to employ the best teachers available to support the students to reach their full potential and to prepare them with the skills for when they leave school.

Why don't we all focus on both schools being the best?

One 'who has been there' said...

.How does this tally with the claim that Free Schools will offer an education, at least as good as, if not superior to the State School system?'

Even Independent Schools these days employ fully qualified teachers. Very few will take on a new, unqualified teacher unless he or she would become qualified whilst in-service. I was head of two, and never appointed an unqualified teacher. There is no reason to do so.

One does hope that the teachers at the free school will at least be required to undergo an enhanced CRB check?

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the start of this thread where ES urge people to apply direct and not to DCC makes me wonder how desperate they are for people to apply. That and the large banner and now the advert in The Advertiser alongside their slightly condescending/tetchy responses to questions on their facebook page does make one wonder if numbers are low and they are getting a little worried.

Anonymous said...

And the alternative to the Swanage School is of course the Purbeck School which hardly has a proven track record of achievement.
It is also the workplace of those most critical of the proposed new school, one in particular who apparently in his “day job” is a teacher but in his “other job” runs a facebook page where he occasionally rants but mostly jumps on every announcement made about the Swanage School with accusations of underhand dealings or as a sure sign the school is going to fail.
If this is the calibre of the teaching staff at TPS then the decision as to where I send my children has been made easy.

Anonymous said...

It depends how you look at it. I see that he has passion for something he believes in, there is nothing wrong with being against something whether you are a teacher or not. ES are very passionate because they want a school in Swanage, others are just as passionate because they have concerns, be it about free schools or a school in Swanage specifically. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The school will either flourish or fail and this also goes for The Purbeck School which is not a failing school at the moment whatever way you look at it. There is a new headteacher there who shows great promise and, just as some have faith in the free school others have faith that the Purbeck School can and will improve. All I can say is how can you know what the calibre of the teachers at The Swanage School will be when they haven't even been recruited yet. I would rather not take that gamble...and I am not a teacher at any school.

Anonymous said...

10.45 You have posted my exact concerns. It simply is too great a risk for me. My child's education is too important and there is just one opportunity for them to succeed (or fail).

Anonymous said...

Those who have highlighted the perceived weaknesses of Purbeck School have drawn attention to how difficult it is to run a school. Unless they can demonstrate that the weaknesses can all be ascribed to the size of the school the sad conclusion must be that it will be just as difficult for the Swanage School to succeed.

There has always been a "grass is greener over the hill" element in Swanage. Some years ago 20 or 30 parents panicked about the middle school and sent their children to Wareham Middle with some opting for Sandford. I never heard and suggestion that it had made the slightest difference to educational outcomes.

It seems a trifle strange to criticise teachers for venturing an opinion on the proposed school. If you want an opinion on the state of your car you ask a mechanic, if its your health you ask a doctor so who else can give an informed view on a school than a teacher? Its up to the reader to make a decision as to the credibility of the opinion, taking into acount of all the factors.

Anonymous said...

However if you want an unbiased opinion on a proposed free school you dont ask an N.U.T member teacher employed at a secondary school in the same catchment area with an obvious personal grudge any more than you would ask Michael Gove.

Anonymous said...

Do you seriously think there is any such thing as a totally unbiased opinion? What led you to think that someone's NUT membership is significant? Something you read written with an anti-union bias I suspect.

What factual errors are you suggesting are to be found in the opinions you object to?

Anonymous said...

The majority of teachers in this country belong to a union and the biggest teaching union happens to be the NUT. I expect that all the teachers at the free school will also belong to a union, they would be daft not to. Very many educationists and teachers are opposed to free schools as are very many parents and members of the public. Therefore it goes without saying that there are always going to be people who disagree with what is happening here. This does not mean that those who support the free school are right and those that don't are wrong. They just have a difference of opinion. I was opposed to the idea way before I read any of the comments on the facebook page as I am sure were many others. Give us some credit for coming to our own conclusions without thinking we are swayed by what other people write there.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be opposition to free schools here.

The alternative would have been a split site secondary school administered by DCC. Those that have followed the Purbeck Review will be aware that DCC did not support a secondary school in Swanage. So for parents that want a secondary school in Swanage there was no other option available to them, other than the free school model.
Swanage is the largest town in this country without a secondary school, so unsurprisingly the parents of Swanage decided to grab the government opportunity of the free school, with both hands.

Its healthy to have choice. A large Comprehensive or a smaller HSE/Co-operative school, both will have advantages and different opportunities.

Its been said that The Swanage School will be detrimental to Purbeck School. The DCC education officers and Richard Holman publicly confirmed a secondary school in Swanage would not make a difference to Purbeck School. The Swanage School is to be a community school, to provide education for Swanage and surrounding villages. Purbeck School has a much larger catchment area and has the ability to attract from a wider area.

Its an exciting opportunity, which I choose to embrace and support wholeheartedly. I wish The Swanage School all the best.

I also wish Purbeck School well too.

Anonymous said...

It's not all parents of Swanage though is it? ES grabbed the opportunity of a free school not the parents and they have continued to foist it on us ever since. I too heard Richard Holman say a school in Swanage would not make a difference to TPS and I don't think it will the first year because more people are choosing Purbeck than they are Swanage. However year on year of course it will make a difference not least because DCC will most probably withdraw funding for the buses whatever they may say to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere will always be the largest town without a secondary school. Will the next largest pick up the baton and demand its school and so on untill every hamlet has a school so as not to be the largest place without one? The thinness of this argument is obvious as soon as one applies this reductio ad absurdum.

I am not persuaded about the merits of competition between schools versus a planned provision. Decsions are going to be made on the basis of very incomplete information, to be polite about it, gossip and tittle-tattle to be blunt. If you have a competitive market the players need to be free to make their pitch and say why they are offering something better and the competition something worse so in this age of viral marketing we can expect a lot more negative words to flow as suppoerters of each school. draw attention to the drawbacks of the other. I wonder how thst will go down.

Anonymous said...

Oops, posted before I had finished. Todays news includes the report saying how much GCSE overmarking goes on in schools to boost grades go get a better league table position. The tables are one of the few pieces of "hard" information parents have to go on so they are a key part of a competive market.

We also recently had the revelation that exam boards compete on who can set the easiest exams. Not exact;y a ringing endorsement of competition.

Anonymous said...

as

Anonymous said...

We have heard little about what is to happen to present staff (teaching and anciliary) currently employed at Swanage Middle School.

Are those staff being offer employment in one of the junior schools, the new Swanage School, or The Purbeck School, as appropriate to their qualifications and experience?

This is an expensive area in which to attract new teachers from afar. It is also a difficult place to find teaching employment if suddenly your school closes. I would assume that existing employees will have an option to move to one of the new junior schools or TPS, with salaries pegged according to national pay levels, and those left over will be considered by the new Swanage School to be paid at whatever scale that new school follows?

Anonymous said...

Middle School staff were invited to apply to Purbeck and the primary schools as part of the redeployment process. Some were successful, others were not. Some have already taken up posts in our local schools. A few more will be doing so next September. The remainder will either have to look for posts further afield or take redundancy. There are more staff than vacancies so presumably some may apply to the Swanage School. Who knows whether they will fit the free school's criteria of 'outstanding'.

Anonymous said...

The new head of The Swanage School started in post today. Does anyone know how he is to be paid? With no school, no staff, no pupils and no funding agreement signed as yet, this is a fulltime position and headteachers are not paid peanuts.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that Mr Gove's department is paying all salaries and fees. New Schools will not be funded via the local authority but from Westminster.

Anonymous said...

I am fully aware that the funding comes from Westminster, that wasn't my question. I was asking how they have got money to pay his salary already before a funding agreement has been signed.

Anonymous said...

Why do you want to know ? does it bother you ?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't particularly bother me but I am interested to know because usually heads who are employed to run a state school have an actual school to go to. ES themselves have stated that the funding agreement usually gets signed nearer the time for the school to be open. I suppose I am interested to know how it works. Does the DfE release a pot of money first to fund staff and building costs? This question was asked earlier in this thread by someone else but as yet no one has provided an answer.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest you look at http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/freeschools/freeschoolsfaqs/a0075658/free-schools-faqs-funding where you will find the mstter of pre-opening funding explained.

Its a pity ES don't monitor this blog and point to the answer to questions like this themselves promptly. I wonder who made the huffy 4.14 posting. How our taxes are spent is something we should all want to know about and of course we should all be "bothered" about it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I decided not to rise to the huffy 4.14 posting as I think it is quite clear that most people, be they for or against the school, should be openly provided with this information.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but if you have a question why not ask ES rather than post it on a blog?

Anonymous said...

Probably gets paid with something called money which gets paid into a bank. I think that's what you call it:)

All good though someone's in a job:)

Anonymous said...

Because ES never give any straight answers. I got a far quicker answer on here!!

Anonymous said...

Google was quicker still.

Anonymous said...

You get rumour and gossip on here. ES have always answered my questions promptly and as fully as possible.

Anonymous said...

I don't think a link to the DfE website is rumour or gossip. It is fact!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, where's tha banner gone?

Anonymous said...

Education Swanage says on their website that the banner wasn`t removed by them so was probably pinched by kids or possibly it was an underhand move by one of the (very) small group of anti Swanage School protestors.

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens!!!!

Anonymous said...

Re. 9:41 pm 11.11.12, that's just the sort of underhand comment one would expect from the (very) small group of Swanage School supporters

Anonymous said...

This new school seems to have a lot of support locally i cant see why anyone would object.
A new secondary school will be good for the town and the Purbeck will still be an option for those who want it.

Anonymous said...

Let's support the new Swanage School for now. If you cannot support it, why not just ignore it? Judge it once it is open and running, just as you do any school. Let's not bicker in front of the children! It undermines them.

Anonymous said...

"Judge it once it is open and running,"

Much as I support the use of the experimental method in science trying out a new school on hundreds of children is rather too brave for me. In any case, once it is a fiat accompli it is hardly going to be closed down if the results are disapointing. I can't escape the suspicion that the last poster is aware of this or has not thought it through.

It will be interesting to see who sends their children to the school. It was originally pitched at parents who think their offspring are too delicate to withstand the bus and too geographically challenged to find their way round TPS. Will it end up with "delicate" children being taxied in from half the county if it is perceived as standing somewhat outside the mainstream model and focussing mainly on this group. Again the initial offering was based not on academic excellence but on learning local skills, whatever they are. Fish frying leaps to mind. If you market a school on that basis parents who want their children to have some sort of academic education are going to look elsewhere. I am aware that paradoxically many perceived it as the grammar school reborn. This is of course a delusion and totally at odds with the aims of both Mr Gove and Education Swanage.

Anonymous said...

'Judge it once it is open and running': I don't think a wait and see attitude is a good one. There are many reasons why people disagree with a new school in Swanage and one is that in times of such austerity such a lot of money is being spent and it will not address the problem of surplus places that the Purbeck Review was initially about but rather create more. If we wait until it is open and it proves to be a big flop how will they justify all that money and resources being wasted. I truly hope the school has enough children on its application list otherwise their pushing ahead with recruiting staff and starting building work is madness.

Anonymous said...

I think those making the negative comments are actually more concerned that it will be a success rather than a failure.

As with the petition objecting to the new school it is most likely teachers and staff from the Purbeck School.

Anonymous said...

Typical. Some of the supporters of ES just cannot take on board the fact that others think the scheme has not been properly thought through and is full of snags. All they can do is lash out at anyone who does not think its the best thing since sliced bread. For the record I have nothing to do with Purbeck School, beyond the fact that my children were educated there some years ago.

My suspicion is that the backer's real agenda is to set it up in the hope that when they move on or get bored or there is a change in educational fashions, DCC will take it over and run it as a Swanage campus of the Purbeck School, that being closer to what they asked for in the first place.

Anonymous said...

On the contrary,I would much rather it didn't open at all but if this school does open I hope it succeeds for the sake of the children who go there and the taxpayers purse. Looking at the petition, I believe the majority of the signatories are not teachers or staff at TPS.

Anonymous said...

And how many millions are they spending on expanding TPS ? Is that not our tax payers money? If we are worried about money being spent , then cut all fundings to school. I hear that the DDC have stated that a local school would save £209.000 per annum in transport , that's a big saving is it not , plus takes extra buses off our already congested roads.

Anonymous said...

That is a tiny amount compared to the millions being spent on a school here. TPS is having money spent on it to make it fit for purpose when it gets its extra year groups in 2013. It is not having money chucked at it on a whim.

Anonymous said...

So the fact that a local school would save thousands every annum in transport fees does not count for anything then . Least the Swanage school will be making savings. And if one school will have money spent on it , why can't a town have money spent on their school. As for spendings for schools it's on the up. Which In my opinion is good as we are now focusing on matters at home , defense at last is being cut being 5th in the table. Pension and welfare are 1st. So if we are going to focus on matters at home surely education is one of those key things to spend on.

Info from UK goverment site

Public spending on education and training has more than doubled in the last 20 years, according to the latest Social Trends study, published by the Office for National Statistics. In 2010-11, £87bn was spent on education in the UK, compared with £43bn in 1987/88. Spending reached a record high of £88bn in 2009-10, when it stood at £88bn. In England, average spending per school pupil in 2009-10 was £5,956, but it was nearly 9% lower at £5,429 in Wales. The figures show that 279,700 apprenticeships were started in England in 2009-10, up from 239,900 the year before – an increase of 17%.


Anonymous said...

"why can't a town have money spent on their school"

What are you talking about? They are. St Marks, St Marys and Mount Scar are all Swanage schools on which money will be spent. New premises for the first two as we know.

The figure for DCC's savings on transport suggest their pledge to continue the free bus service to TPS for 11 to 16 year olds may be quietly buried as their finances are squeezed. Its a bit spurious in any case as a high proportion of parents will drive their children to the Swanage school so it is simply transferring costs to household budgets. I know, I know, they can walk, cycle, travel by pogo stick, levitate etc etc but a high proportion will go by car. If parents think 11 year olds are too delicate to sit on a bus for 20 minutes they are hardly going to make them walk to school on wet winter mornings are they.

Anonymous said...

Yes think about it, on cold wet winter mornings parents are currently able to boot their kids out the door so they can catch the bus to a school 20 minutes away, but faced with them having to walk, scoot, levitate etc. to a school that could be a 20 minute walk away they are far more likely to give in and run them up to the school in their car, especially if they are running late.

Anonymous said...

Well then those parents and kids should toughen up and maybe do us all a favour with a bit of exercise in the morning , I mean some do need it .

Oh yes those schools are getting money put into them , so can my 11 year old go the theses school once middle school shuts down? Oh that's right they can't cos we only have 1 choice and that's TPS. It's like being told you don't have choice and you will send your kids there :( the fact we have a choice now is what I like and a choice to have make a change is a good thing , though seems to me change is what some people in Swanage don't like . Well let me tell you doubters , the world is a changing place and its changing fast. So deal with it or get stuck in your old ways forever. :)

Anonymous said...

"those parents and kids should toughen up"

Perhaps, but there is nothing to suggest they will just because they take their children to a school with a different name at the same location as before is there? If a child of 11 is driven to SMS they are going to be dirven to the Swanage School.

Oh, I forgot, the sun will always shine on it. It will be free of the need to employ trained teachers, free of the need to teach the national curriculum and now it seems it will be free of rainfall as well.

Now I understand, its a school for people who cannot tell the difference between what they would like to happen and what is odds on to happen. That explains a good deal.

Anonymous said...

Of course it got to teach the national curriculum , duh ! And I don't know about anyone else in Swanage , though I can tell the difference. We have a choice and a change:) that's a big difference.

Anonymous said...

"Of course it got to teach the national curriculum , duh"

I do wish posters would make some effort to find the facts so as not to display their ignorance.

I quote from "Free School FAQs" at www.education.gov.uk

"Do Free Schools have to follow the national curriculum?

No.
One of the freedoms Academies and Free Schools enjoy is over what curriculum they deliver, providing it is a balanced and broadly based curriculum.
The new model funding agreement requires Academies and Free Schools to teach English, mathematics and science and to make provision for the teaching of religious education."

It would seem a balanced education can leave out the humanities and arts which is a little odd but that is what they say. We must await the publication of a detailed curriculum for the new school before commenting on its adequacy.

Anonymous said...

How absolutely ridiculous to assume that just because people are not wanting a school in Swanade they don't embrace change. I am all for the changes that are happening to TPS and the change from three to two tier and I like the change of school and fellow classmates my child will encounter at TPS.

Anonymous said...

If you like the changes that are happening at TPS, change of system and new classmates for your child thats great but what is it that makes you think that you have the right to deny others what they want which is secondary education in their home town ?

Anonymous said...

"what is it that makes you think that you have the right to deny others what they want"

I am entitled to point out the shortcomings of the proposed school. Although the idea of a secondary school here is superficially attractive I think the benefits are outweighed by the disadvantages. My own children certainly welcomed having a wider group from which to draw their friends and still keep in touch with people from outside Swanage they knew at TPS.

Why are supporters of a Swanage school fixated by the distance to Wareham. Countless thousands of children have a journey to school that takes a good deal longer than the bus ride to Wareham. The 11 year olds from Swanage who go to grammar and private schools manage twice the journey time and more so what is the problem?

Anonymous said...

Why do people still bring up this " they won't make new friends if they don't get out of town" do you honestly think that kids are locked up and not allowed out:( Kids travel out of town without the fact kids go to school in Wareham. Maybe parents are worried about the whole issue of 11 years olds going on a bus with older kids. It's not like 11 year olds are that grown up yet. I remember an incident years ago where a person was badly beaten on a bus from TPS , and the fact that bullying still gets brushed aside at the school does not give some people great confidence of the school. People like the change at TPS , well good for you so happy for you people though that's your choice. Others want something different and want to see a local school that offers something different from the same old same old for the last how many years the purbeck has be going. How people can tell others this is wrong is beyond me. Stick to your old routines , but please stop moaning about others that what something new .

Anonymous said...

If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death.

Daniel Quinn's The Story of B

Anonymous said...

If you try to close down all secondary education in a town, the people of course will frantically protest. But if you give them a middle school they will allow their kids to travel 10 miles to the upper school quite placidly, after all it is only a few years and a local upper school would be uneconomical. Then after a while you can close down the middle school and, with a smile on their faces, the parents in their tranquil stupor will unresistingly allow all secondary education to disappear and the town to die a slow death.

The argument used by many protestors against the move to three-tier in 1974

Anonymous said...

An incident YEARS AGO! If that's the only incident you can remember then it shows there aren't that many incidents. What makes you think someone is less likely to get beaten up walking to school? Or less likely to get bullied at school here. Children have been going to purbeck for many years on many many buses but we don't hear of terrible things happening all the time do we? No one is saying children wont make friends at a school here but at least going to Purbeck they will not be with the 'same old same old' for all of their secondary education.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to read the arguments that were aired against moving to three tier in 1974 and the loss of Swanage's secondary schools. I understand the decision made was a very close run thing. Does anyone have any recollection or copies of papers relating to this?

Anonymous said...

"and the town to die a slow death."

Could you tell us what a dead town is please. Can you give examples of town killed for want of a secondary school? I cannot think of any. Where would I find one. I think you are really saying that familes with children of school age are in some way superior to other people who may decide to live here which is a gross insult to amjor secotions of the population.

Anonymous said...

Anyone concerned that the population structure of Swanage is skewed towards the retired because the local comprehensive school is 10 miles away can draw some solace from the figures from the DCC website which has town profiles for all Dorset towns. Swanage has 33.7% over 60. Wimborne, Beaminster, Sherborne, Lyme Regis, Ferndown, West Moors and Christchurch all have figures which are higher and they all have secondary schools. Wareham, Dorchester, Blandford Forum, Dorcheter and Gillingham are lower. Bridport is very much the same as Swanage. My conclusion is that the distance to a school for over 13s has made absolutely no difference to the age structure so I fail to see how making 11 and 12 year olds travel will make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it will, maybe it won't. why do you care?

Anonymous said...

re: 2.19 PM

If The Purbeck School had GCSE and A Level results that matched, or even came close to, those of The Twynham School in Christchurch (to pick just one of the towns you cite), I am sure there would be very little demand for a local secondary school in Swanage.

One has to ask why TPS is not as successful as TS? Could it be that TS, being in an area where there are several selective grammar schools, and high achieving comprehensives, in competition for pupils, has to raise its targets to compete as one reason? It certainly isn't a case of better buildings. I know TS; I know families with children there; they are focused and challenged without becoming overwhelmed. Their exam results are stunning.

If local competition is a strong factor in mantaining a good school, creating a school that is even further isolated from its 'competition' hardly seems a way to ensure the highest standards.

When we lived in Sandford, our children attended St Marys, then Sandford Middle School, and went on (by choice) to Lytchett Matravers School. This was common at the time, even though TPS was the 'local' school. The perception, right or wrong, was that any school closer to Poole/Bournemouth was better; thinking back it was the 'glow' of Poole and Bournemouth Grammar Schools that gave us that perception of LMS. We had no ax to grind with PBS; the sports centre was fabulous; we just thought standards were higher at Lytchett and the school a little more attuned to our kids, and our hopes for them. That was then; things may have changed.

Of course, exam and other results are not the only thing a school should offer, but certainly results AND the arts, sports, community service and the like ARE achievable, but only if the school, parents and community demand them. Again, our perception was that Lytchett was a happier school for our kids, at that time. We were certainly happy and both went on to university.

Since TPB will remain for most the only option for Sixth Form studies, my comments apply only to the middle school years which, I believe, are critical ones.

Does anyone have any views about my concerns - and more importantly, any suggestions - how the new school can be competitive and not simply 'comfortable' while being so isolated from other schools? Or is it not important - that isolation is what will allow The Swanage School to be as good as, say, Twynham School for its corresponding Year Groups in five years time?

The new head is coming from Salisbury - a very competitive city, in terms of schools. I wish him well, and I hope he is using every opportunity to acquaint himself with Swanage. It is a beguiling, yet occasionally, inward-looking, town.

Anonymous said...

I applaud the people of Swanage who would like to see a new school for their children , it's bring a sense of coummutnity spirt and a breath of fresh air to a town , with every thing it goes through fighting for hospital , keeping old people's home open , your great views to disappear soon ( wind farm ) , police station shutting , no affordable housing , inconsistent health centre etc etc.

You show great determination in hard times , well done ES keep up the good work:)

Anonymous said...

A minor point, Twynham School has 1500 hundred pupils. One of the justifications claimed for a Swanage school is that TPS, which is smaller than this, is too large,

Anonymous said...

There seems to be an attitude that you can have cometitions that everybody wins. The real world outcome is different. If you look at areas where parents have a choice between a number of schools a pecking order develops in which some are perceived as much worse than others, to the extent that parents lie about where they live to get their children into a well regarded school and avoid the bad ones or the LEA has to resort to random selection methods. As has been pointed out Lytchett Minster is the prefered choice for the Sandford parents who care about their children's education, leaving TPS with those whose parents are less likely to have high expectations, and believe me education is a game where expectation, by parents and teachers, are vital. Competion for pupils is fine for the school thst has a good reputation but it creates a situation where success breeds success and failure breeds failure and does very little to improve overall standards.

Anonymous said...

There was a time when Swanage and district had educational competition. There was the Grammar School, and for better part of a century Swanage played host to a number of preparatory schools, the last two departing in the last decade or so - Forres School, and The Old Malthouse. Hillside, Durlston Court, Durnford and several others all made Swanage a place where childen came to be educated, and not shiped from. However, times change. I believe it was Dick Morris, head of Forres, who once quipped that his school had 'as its catchment area sheep to the north and west, and fish to the south and east'.

Anonymous said...

But the vast majority of Swanage children went to the various first schools and then the Secondary Modern which became the Middle School. They had no choice. You needed either money or to be in the top 20% for intelligence to have any other choice. I am trying very hard not to be rude about a vision of choice which effectively dismisses three quarters of the population as so unimportant that they can be ignored.

Anonymous said...

If the teachers from TPS spent less time knocking others on facebook and on here, and more time wotking on their own school, perhaps it be better than the frankly mediocre place it is now. Your new glossy brochures don't fool anyone!

Anonymous said...

Evidence that Purbeck School teacher are on here are knocking people? what a silly and defensive comment.

Anonymous said...

I didn`t write the comment about TPS teachers knocking others but clearly they are maybe not on here but they are with the Facebook page and their signatures are on the petition against the new school.

Anonymous said...

Just because they signed a petition, it doesn't mean they are knocking others and as far as I can make out, only two teachers have commented on Facebook. There are over 60 teaching staff at TPS, many of whom are conscientious, hard working and care a great deal about the education of their pupils. I was quite impressed with some of them who were prepared to go that extra mile for my own kids when they went there. I do think that some of the comments on this blog verge on the slanderous and are definitely aimed below the belt. Personally, I think that such comments from the free school supporters do nothing to help their cause.

Anonymous said...

I go along with that. I am not a teacher and not employed in any other capacity at TPS. ES supporters make no attempt to present facts to support the claim they will be able to achieve better outcomes than TPS with the same children. Since, sadly, the strongest predictor of educational attainment is parental educational level it is very hard to see how they are going to do this. There are a nmber of claims about benefits other than educational ones, the glorified village school aka "human scale" one for example and vague claims that the town as a whole would be better off with a secondary school. Again all "puffs" unsupported by facts. If they could point to tangible benefits enjoyed by Wareham through have TPS there it would help.

Anonymous said...

A quick scan of the petition "Purbeck people concerned about the negative effects of a free school in Swanage" shows at least 27 signatures from staff members of TPS plus a selection of their family members.

This petition really should be entitled "Purbeck school staff members and their families concerned about the negative effects of a free school in Swanage"

So really they`re not knocking others ?

Anonymous said...

Signing the petition is not knocking others. It is exercising a right to be concerned about the re-creation of 400 surplus places in the Purbeck area. Teachers and others who care about the education of pupils across the area beyond Swanage are entitled to sign. This is entirely different from 'knocking others' which might suggest they are making negative comments about those involved in the free school. I have seen no evidence to suggest that 27 teachers have publicly commented in such a manner.
Furthermore, if you have correctly identified that 27 staff members have signed the petition, you will be able to count the staff members listed on TPS website. It looks like over a hundred staff work there. Therefore you are unfairly 'knocking' aproximately 75% of them by casting such aspersions.
If you are involved with the free school and demonstrate so little integrity, I would not want you to be involved in the education of my children. I am glad they are now beyond school age and cannot be affected by the disasterous education policies of this government or the impact such may have on future schooling across the Purbeck area.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. It is worrying that anyone who supports ES, and for all we know is well placed in that organisation, sees everything in these personal terms and constantly eschews putting forward any evidence based argument to counter the critics. But then, if they cannot think through the snags in having a secondary village school it is not surprising that they are unable to understand that other people have thought it through and concluded that it a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

Here here ! For the sake of those children who will be guinea pigs to the system, I hope the Swanage School provides a decent education. For us, the tax payers, I hope that it is not a colossal waste of money. For those children educated at Purbeck School, I hope the reduced budget and impossible forecasts for accurate pupil numbers will not impact on their schooling. Sadly, I cannot see a future with no casualties. And I am not usually a cup half empty person!

Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is there is big demand for places at Lytchett Minster School from parents in Poole who are anxious that their kids avoid the secondary modern schools there. Dorset County Council could support and sustain good secondary schools in both Swanage and Wareham if they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Why have the advocates of competition failed to mention that for many years TPS and Lychett Minster have had an overlapping and hence shared catchment area. As a result parents in that area have choice. Yet the same posters are loud in their criticism of TPS while ignoring the fact that competition has failed to lead to the improvements they claim for it. How very curious and how very selective they are in what they say.

Anonymous said...

Look - unless the government changes its mind, the new Swanage School is going to happen. Knocking schools and engaging in a slanging match is not going to help. The simple fact of the matter is that the new school will need to do a mammoth job establishing its credibility, and The Purbeck School has some real improvements to make under a new head teacher. Those facts are immutable. Let's support our kids; if you don't want the new school, don't sign yours up, and support TPS instead. View this situation as an opportunity, and not a challenge. If you cannot support one, the other, or both, I suggest private schools, or drive yours to Poole or Bournemouth for schooling, or home school them.

Anonymous said...

Only time will tell. Parents will make their choices. Let's hope the eduction of a generation is not damaged in the process. I wouldn't want to explain what went wrong to my child if I made the wrong decision.

Anonymous said...

As we don't live in a perfect world, I would expect there to be advantages and disadvantages of both schools.

Maybe either choice of school would be good, but each school would offer something different.

I have been following TSS/TPS discussions.

As a parent of young children I would like to be reassured that both schools, will be working in collaboration. Children from the same family could be at both schools. The Purbeck School offers a 6th form whereas TSS does not. I would like to be reassured that if I choose for my children to attend TSS that they would also be welcome at the Purbeck School 6th form.
I am finding some of the comments here disconcerting.

Anonymous said...

For anyone who may not be aware of it you can visit the home page of education swanage
http://www.educationswanage.co.uk/
and have your say on whether or not you agree on the site at Swanage Middle School. You can find the very quick survey under the heading Consultation Extra

Anonymous said...

7.28
I wouldn't worry about disconcerting comments on here as they are not from TPS. I am sure that you would find Purbeck School very welcoming towards sixth formers and suggest perhaps that the best way to gauge this is by visiting and speaking to the Head Teacher and Head of Sixth Form.

Anonymous said...

What I meant is that these comments, for and against the Swanage School (and in support or criticism of Purbeck School) are made by a group of people from varying backgrounds, none of whom are official representatives of TPS. The only way to get an accurate picture of each school is to visit them in person and to talk to those at the helm. The rest is all heresay and conjecture.

Anonymous said...

You might like togoalong to one of these TPS information evenings and ask your question about transferring to Purbeck Sixth Form after TSS.

Wednesday 21st November – The Purbeck House Hotel, High Street, Swanage from 7:00 pm

Thursday 22nd November – The Purbeck Hall, The Purbeck School, from 7:00 pm

Anonymous said...

Hoping to attend both TSS and TPS meetings. Are you able to clarify here what 'transferring' means.

Anonymous said...

Competition between Purbeck and Lytchett HAS led to improvements. It's just a shame that Lytchett had better management to forge ahead while the situation of parents deserting Purbeck prompted the complete reorganisation of all schools, which is now finally leading to improvements. Much simpler if they had simply replaced the head a few years ago and had a more robust three tier system as in Dorchester. The difference between the attitude and ambition of TPS and LM was marked.

Anonymous said...

Transferring = moving from one school to another. Perhaps not an accurate term as technically they would have left TSS at 16. Perhaps 'starting' at TPS sixth form to continue post sixteen education would be better, but that's being pedantic.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone actually asked ES what will happen if the school building is not ready by Jan 2014? I know a lot of people just assume they will stay at Harrow House but this is not the case because HH get thier influx of overseas students at that time and simply wont be able to accommodate TSS. I think it is important that ES let parents know what their plans are should this happen.

Anonymous said...

Purbeck teachers seem to get a lot of grief here - bit unfair as presumably they're working whilst others are bitdhing? Question - how great are the teachers pushing a school for Swanage? There's just two of them, going by their website?

Anonymous said...

I have just downloaded the school prospectus from the Deputy Headteacher application pack.

Not a mention of any curricular goals, beyond presenting 'a broad curriculum'.

The activities look lovely. It appears to be more like a fee paying private school than a state school.

Parents should ask to see the curriculum documents before committing their child. There is NO mention of special needs provision.

Since the website says to sign up fast before places are gone, one assumes they will accept only those they chose to have.

Anonymous said...

They can't say which GCSEs they'll definitely offer until they know how many students they get = how many subject teachers they can afford. Read their curriculum document (you can download the pdf from their website) it takes a long while to say almost nothing definite.

Anonymous said...

4.32 raised an interesting question. Purbeck gets a lot of criticism on here and some have slated it for being rated as a satisfactory school by ofsted. But so is Swanage Middle. Dave Pratten, HT, is one of the 'teachers pushing for a school for Swanage'. Don't know much about Helen O'Connor who apparently used to work at Purbeck.

Anonymous said...

"Here's what the school proposed by the Education Swanage pressure group will look like if they can get it built it in time, pending getting planning permission, sufficient student numbers, a funding agreement and so forth."

Direct quote from Mark Rainsley - a Purbeck School teacher - desperate words from a clearly increasingly desperate man!

Anonymous said...

Education Swanage is apparently now a "pressure group" ?

The guy is a loon.

Anonymous said...

What's loony about that?
Definition of pressure group: Non-profit and usually voluntary organisation whose members have a common cause for which they seek to influence political or corporate decision makers to achieve a declared objective.
It seems to me the aims of Education Swanage fall entirely within this objective. They seek to influence the local council, and the government in agreeing to the need for a secondary school in Swanage. That is their declared objective.
Whoever you are, your incessant attempts to discredit Mark Rainsley with comments that verge on the libelous don't make you look very intelligent. Like an earlier poster said, some of the free school supporters do themselves no favours. You just come across as bitter and desperate yourself.

Anonymous said...

Why assume Mark Rainsley is desperate? What has he got to be desperate about? What he actually says is very factual because the proposed school is dependent on planning permission,sufficient student numbers, signed funding agreement and a building ready on time.

Anonymous said...

I find Mark to be very sensible in most of the points and questions that he raises. As the above poster states, his quote is entirely factual and he is simply signposting a link to what the new school 'might' look like if passes all of those goal posts.
Does anyone know what the outcome of the adjudicator's review is? I understand that all governing bodies of schools in the Purbeck area were asked to agree to timescale changes so that builders can start on SMS site before July 2013. As the Free School build is dependent on diggers arriving early in the new year, this is an extremely large part of the jigsaw.

Anonymous said...

Its right there on there website;

Helen O’Connor, Vice Chair and Chair of Curriculum, has been a senior secondary school teacher for 22 years and is a freelance educational consultant.

Anonymous said...

The founder and chair of The Swanage School has blogs and websites about himself (or maybe there is another Paul Angell in Swanage?) - his background is not in education, he is a conceptual artist ('i want to try and raise questions as well as excite visually: who did this? why here? will drawn love last longer than the love itself? can modern love exist without a marker pen?')who says he is a Socialist and dreams of creating a 'Co-operative Trust set up to be run by the community for the community…'.

http://lovelandscape.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.coastalhost.co.uk/paul/paul-angel.php

Anonymous said...

And your point is?
I've known a great many teachers - some excellent, a few mediocre, a couple rather poor and the majority good and hard working. 22 years in the profession tells us nothing about how 'great' a teacher is and anyone can set themselves up as a freelance consultant.
And yes, Paul Angel is the man with the 'lovelandscape blog'.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Read right through that website. PA admires Fidel Castro, believes that people who eat meat are murderers, wants a socialist utopia and refuses to wear a red poppy on rememberance day. All engaging and harmless beliefs, but safe to say that there are 'loons' on all sides of the debate here.

Anonymous said...

Despite being an opponent of ES I have to say Paul is in good company with most of these. Not too sure about the vegetarianism though... Castro, the man who earned the undying enmity of the USA for throwing the gangsters who ran the gambling and sex industries under Batista out of Cuba. Not entirely a bad thing.

Nothing wrong with wanting a socialist society for that matter. Capitalism is looking strangely distopian these days, or had you not noticed.

As for remembrance day, well I grew up at a time when it was about celebrating how "we beat Jerry". There are still overtones of chauvinism which many find distasteful, Paul is clearly among them.

Anonymous said...

I too am a socialist and cannot set aside my political beliefs to accept a tory ideal that is the free school movement. Even though they say this is the only way we can get a school in Swanage, I can't support free schools.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth are the careers and qualifications of the Swanage School's Governors being dragged into the discussion? They are the Governors, not the teaching staff, and will be led by professional DfE education advisors when employing the Head and other staff, just as at any other new school. Last time I looked, Governors are supposed to be drawn from across the community the school serves, and exhibit a range of complementary skills and experience. I wonder how many of the Purbeck School Governors (aside from the Head and the Staff Governors) are fully qualified teachers with 20+ years experience ? And why did the Chair of Governors at the Purbeck School feel so threatened by the Swanage School that he instructed both of his Governors who live in Swanage to either stop showing support for the free school or else resign ? Both resigned, by the way, so once again the Purbeck School's governing body has little or no representation from Swanage.

Anonymous said...

The contrast between those who whinge and rant on the internet about Swanage getting its own secondary school and those who are out there making it happen couldn't be more stark. When DCC wrote Swanage off and refused to provide a local school, did those in ES take to Facebook and start moaning? No, they rolled up their sleeves and decided to convince the Government to fund what the local authority would not. When the greedy owner of the old Grammar School tried to extort yet more money from the Government for his slum on Northbrook Road, did ES give up and take to whining on SwanageView? No, they sorted themselves out another site and designed an even more impressive building. Thank goodness Swanage has some practical, public-spirited people (like those battling to keep the hospital open too) who've got better things to do than endlessly criticise others on the internet for trying the make the town a better place to live. To these I say a heartfelt "Thank you". To the others I say "Get a life". Exactly what have your thousands of boring, repetitive gripes and grumbles achieved to date? Zip. Nada. Nothing.

Anonymous said...

Good 'whinge' and rant there. Make sure you also take on board what you have just said!

Anonymous said...

Can we have our police station back next please i have just had to drive to Wareham to make a statement.
Apparently they closed Swanage station because there is no crime here ?

Anonymous said...

Wrong thread :)

Anonymous said...

No ES did not set up a facebook page to winge but they did exclude people from asking pertinent questions, which is why the 'alternative' free school discussion was set up by Mark Rainsley. Let's not get into mud slinging. If you read the alternative Facebook, you will find out that ES are not so holier than thou and have attempted to silence staff in more than one of our local schools from expressing any opinion that doesn't meet with their approval.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that open discussion of the proposed school, it's merits and drawbacks is moaning. I do accept that some people winge and that there has been some mud slinging on both sides. For me personally, discussing the issues will hopefully encourage parents to think very carefully about their children's future and make an informed decision when choosing a secondary school. In that respect I don't think it achieves zip, nada, nothing.

Anonymous said...

The complaints about people posting critical views completely miss the point. If you think setting up a glorified village school will be detrimental to the education of Swanage's children you can hardly be expected to hide your opinion because it is against a change. I do wonder whether some of the supporters of the Swanage School are being a little simple minded or whether they simply have no answer to the critics and try to shout then down.

it says it will be all things to all pupils, but it would, wouldn't it. For example "The Swanage School's ethos is one of encouraging all students to fulfil their potential"

By the way there is a page on their website about special educational needs, which an earlier poster cannot have noticed. Publically funded schools pick up a payment for each statemented child they have. This applies to free schools and it comes from county hall unlike their other funding. They will therefore be able to afford the same amount of support as any other school.

Anonymous said...

But special needs provision should extend beyond support for statements children. It is very difficult to get a statement these days and there are a great many children with various needs that need to be catered for.
How will they manage differentiation when they will be able to afford so few staff?

How will struggling children who need additional support be taught in the same class as gifted and talented pupils? How will they stretch A* pupils whilst supporting C/D borderline pupils if they are taught in the same sets? Presumably this will be necessary for some subjects. There will inevitably be so few pupils taking certain options that they won't be able to afford several subject specialists teaching alongside each other.

Indeed will they even be able to afford a wide range of subject specialists? How many outstanding teachers will want to work in a school with very small departments? What will happen if a struggling teacher needs support from departmental colleagues? There won't be any because they are in a single teacher department. Even teachers who appear to be very good at interview can face unforeseen difficulties in the classroom once in post.The support of colleagues who understand their subject would be vital. I doubt there area huge number of teachers who are used to planning for their department in isolation. Won't the majority of applicants come from schools where their subject departments are larger? They will need to be able to adapt to the different style. Can TSS be certain that, even with a track record of good teaching, this will continue under different circumstances. The demands of working in a single form school are very different to those of a four, six or eight form school.
These are genuine questions, not criticisms.

Anonymous said...

Quite. I was merely pointing out that they have referred to special needs on their web site as an earlier poster thought it was silent on that point and that they will get funding for at least some of these children. Despite their sloganising about students receiving individual treatment the reality, as you suggest is very much "one size fits all" in a small school.

The overarching aims of ES are to avoid students travelling and resolve the perceived anomoly of a town of 10,000 not having a secondary school. All other considerations are secondary to that. Potential parents need to take this into account though.

Anonymous said...

Dear moderator,
Some of the posts on this page are potentially libellous to a named individual. The post of 21st Nov at 11.22 am is particularly offensive. Please can you remove it, along with any other personal attacks on Mark Rainsley. It is out of order to question his teaching and to state that he is a liability to his school. All the man has done is question some of the issues around the free school on another forum. He has raised some very important points that need discussing. To call into question his role as a teacher is libel and if I were him, I would be seeking legal advice.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Swanagedad said...

The trouble is one person’s “undermining” is another’s “reasonable questioning”. Ultimately it’s a matter of opinion. Personally speaking, as a Swanage parent I think that the questions posed here about the viability of the (still proposed) free school are within the boundaries of reasonableness and I can identify with many of them. What those connected with and supporting the free school need to do is demonstrate in detail just how they are going to achieve their vision - and that means quoting some figures.

A good example of what can be achieved in a small secondary is Fairfield High School in Herefordshire. This is a small local authority controlled 11-16 secondary school with 372 pupils and is s rated outstanding in all categories by Ofsted. It has an above average proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. So what is being proposed IS achievable. However, the significant questions are how and how quickly? Surely a school needs to build up a certain ‘critical mass’ which takes time to achieve? This can’t happen overnight or even in a single academic year. I would also imagine that the teaching staff at Fairfield must be truly exceptional and stretch their work life balance to the limit!

Some meaningful answers rather than a mixture of spin, opinion and vision would really help the debate!

The Postman said...

Can I remind people not to post defamatory, or potentially defamatory, comments? By all means express your opinions, but don't make accusations about individuals.
I don't have time to moderate all comments,but will consider deleting any if asked to do so, as in the case of a particular comment above.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the supporters regard being asked how they intend to translate their ideals and woolly aspirations into results as attempts at undermining them. That's a little bit odd as prospective parents reading what they say in the various web sites are just as likely to question whether this is an attitude conducive to providing their children with a good education.

I do appreciate the enormous difficulty of persuading people with what is really a blank prospectus.

The example of Fairfield High school is encouraging. It is one of the ten best state schools in the country, however, without a detailed plan for emulating it it is about as helpful as being told that every child making a violin sound like a tortured cat is a Menuhin in the making.

Anonymous said...

It seems the little group of angry anti free school protestors have really spat their dummy out this time, maybe the sight of all those men in flourescent jackets at the Middle School site preparing to build our new school was just to much for them to take ?

Anonymous said...

You would be a lot more persuasive if you could contribute some factual answers instead of getting your knickers in a twist and ranting. However, once again we have intemperate comments that do nothing beyond diminishing the standing of Education Swanage.

Anonymous said...

Have ES even put in a planning applications for TSS yet? Can't find one. Don't they need to start their build early in the new year? With only 5 weeks remaining in 2012, I would have thought the ball ought to be rolling by now if they plan to move into new accommodation in Jan 2014. St Mary's application was submitted in October with a decision due but 15th Jan so it seems unlikely that ES will have a decision by then.

Anonymous said...

To the person who mentioned fluorescent jackets.
As you say 'our new school' I am assuming you are connected with ES. So please could you answer some of the questions posted on here. Has the adjudicator agreed to building starting on the middle school site prior to July 2013 when it closes it's doors to pupils?
I ask because this was one of the conditions put in place by all the middle schools during the Purbeck Review.
Has planning been submitted?
Are you on schedule to start building your new school in January?
Can you provide parents with an assurance that you will have somewhere to house your school if the building is not complete by Jan 2014?
When do you expect your funding agreement to be signed off?
Please do not dismiss these questions as undermining. They are genuine questions that parents need to know the answers to if they are to put faith in TSS.

Anonymous said...

Also, this was asked earlier but I will repeat.
How will you teach children across a wide range of ability with few subject specialists?
How many subjects are you planning to offer and how will you organise teaching in less popular subjects?
How will you support teachers in small departments?
How will you ensure that all teaching is outstanding?
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Don't think you will get an answer. They leave mant outstanding questions unanswered. I don't know why.

Anonymous said...

For mant read 'many'

Anonymous said...

In which case, I honestly cannot understand why parents can be expected to send their children there. They are simple and reasonable questions. Are there really that many people willing to put blind faith in a group of people who refuse to answer? I am completely bemused.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find the answer to your question is no.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to them (I'm not a supporter myself, but...) you could actually ask them these Qs direct on their Facebook group, and give them the opportunity to respond.

Anonymous said...

These questions have been put to them time and again on their fb page and to date they have not been forthcoming with the answers.

Anonymous said...

But then the questioner would have to admit who they are rather than posting anonymously. No wonder ES ignore swanageview postings given some of the stuff they're accused of by faceless critics.

Anonymous said...

That response doesn't make sense because people have not used fake names to ask these questions on the ES fb page.

Anonymous said...

Since when have questions been accusations? An accusation is in its very nature a statement, not a question. Besides the flourescent jacket comment appears to be made by a faceless ES member. As faceless as you, in fact.

Anonymous said...

I made the comment about the guys at the site in flourescent jackets, for the record I have no connection with ES whatsoever although I support their aims.

I used the term "our school" because thats what it will be, a school for the community and children of this area.

What suprises me is the anger and bitterness of those who oppose the school.
If you dont like it dont send your children there, really its not difficult.

Anonymous said...

I have no children to send there but have read all of these comments. It appears to me that some of the supporters sound angrier than the questioners. Your comment about angry protestors spitting their dummies out sounded particularly vehement in fact. The questions do seem reasonable though.

Anonymous said...

Nope, can't read anger and bitterness in the questions above. There has been sniping on both sides of the debate but the nastiest comment came from someone who clearly supports ES and it was removed.

Anonymous said...

My children are all grown up but I do pay taxes and object to my money being spent unwisely by the government.
Schools across the county and the country are having to tighten their belts to prop up the free schools and academies agenda. The National Audit Office has just announced £1bn overspend on academies. God knows how much overspend there has been on free schools too. This is in a time of austerity.
Whilst we may sympathise with a few needy children and parents who can't face the 20 minute journey to Wareham, the rest of our schools across Purbeck will face budgets cuts. My concern is for all children in the area, not just a handful that may go to the expensive Swanage School.

Anonymous said...

From the Independent Newspaper

Today's report revealed the Government spent £8.3bn on the academies programme in the two years up to April 2012 – £1bn of which had been above budget.

As a result, ministers have had to slash a total of £350m from other education services – cutting £95m from the school improvement programme aimed at raising standards and taking £105m from contingency reserves.

In addition, this year they have reduced by £100m the amount set aside for 16- to 19-year-olds to stay on at school or college and a similar amount earmarked for intervening to improve standards in under-performing schools.

Anonymous said...


'What suprises me is the anger and bitterness of those who oppose the school.
If you dont like it dont send your children there, really its not difficult.'

Fine. Can we not have to pay for it, too?

Anonymous said...

I am not a normally a betting person, but I place odds that this school will not happen after 1) the delay 2) government overspending on academies (the real 'prize') and 3) the paucity of parents who are committed to send their children the day the school opens (not those 'interested' or 'waiting to see it up and running before deciding') The latter has happened elsewhere this year. I have spoken with a number of parents in this category who are 'interested' but will 'wait and see before committing'.

Anonymous said...

All answers from TSS's website:

Q:

How will you teach children across a wide range of ability with few subject specialists?

A: We want each pupil to feel affectionate about their school and as an adult to look back fondly on their education. We want each pupil to leave the Swanage School enabled to progress to further and higher education and the career of their choice.


Q: How many subjects are you planning to offer and how will you organise teaching in less popular subjects?


A: All students will cover the 'Core' subjects of maths, English and science.
The majority will also study the 'Foundation' subjects of art and design, geography, history, modern foreign languages, music and PE.
The 'Basic' curriculum comprises citizenship, design technology, ICT, careers, PRE, sex and relationships education (SRE) and, for some students, work-related learning.




Q: How will you support teachers in small departments?

A: Our newly appointed Principal, Mr Tristram Hobson, will be deeply involved (on an informal basis from September) in reviewing the education plans and working with us on developing and refining them for implementation, including staffing arrangements, time-tabling and school policies.

Q:How will you ensure that all teaching is outstanding?

A: Our newly appointed Principal, Mr Tristram Hobson, will be deeply involved (on an informal basis from September) in reviewing the education plans and working with us on developing and refining them for implementation, including staffing arrangements, time-tabling and school policies.

Anonymous said...

We are new to Swanage. Our son is mad on sports and loves the sports centre at Wareham. He will go to The Purbeck School because it will have the sports facilities he wants. Swanage has poor inddor sports facilites the pool at the Vista is hardly a pool

Anonymous said...

So the angry Swanage Tory voters have finally made their way on here I guess.

I suppose they took some time off from busting an artery just long enough to work out how to best navigate their way here and provide us with more of their nonsensical spiel (as if we hadn't suffered enough already).

Anonymous said...

Are those answers above tongue in cheek because they don't answer the questions at all do they? Especially the first one!!!

Anonymous said...

'We are new to Swanage': Were you put off moving here because the secondary school is 20 mins away?

Anonymous said...

Fine , can we not have to pay for TPS aswell then ?

Anonymous said...

How can they be put off moving here , when they say they are new to Swanage?

Think about the post before posting , duh :)

Anonymous said...

'Think about the post before posting, duh :)' Believe me I did. I am highlighting a point that ES supporters claim people wont want to move here if there is no secondary school in the town. This family clearly moved here knowing the situation and were clearly not put off. It was a rhetorical question, duh :)

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that any significant number of people decide not to move here because of the bus ride. Certainly no evidence was presented that local employers find recruitment hard for that reason. However, let us imagine that a local school would result in an influx. Would this be a good thing? We know there are not large numbers of jobs going begging here and that there is not a surplus of employment space for people setting up businesses. As a result the newcomers would largely commute to their places of employment. Lets suppose there were sufficient for their children to fill one school bus, 60 or so. Instead of that bus there would be 60 cars chugging back and forth, more likely 120 with mothers and fathers both working. Is that an unmitigated "good thing" I ask myself. Thats without considering the effect on house prices of a well regarded school.

Anonymous said...

The points you give from TSS website fall far short of answers.
1. Wanting children to progress and feel affectionate about their school does not help when there is one teacher teaching, let's say Science, to a range of ability from D grade to A* in the same class. How will they do this is a reasonable question. They may have several science specialists. They may have very small classes. I don't know because nobody will answer.
2. Specifics about the curriculum. Yes they have stated the core subjects but I would like to know more. Will they offer three separate sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Biology) plus perhaps Geology to student wanting to take them as distinct gcses rather than combined Science? Rather important if pupils wish to go onto study STEM courses at respected universities.
Even in large school like Purbeck, some subjects are less popular with pupils. Therefore, fewer pupils will select them as options. Having smaller study groups is beneficial. But what happens if only a handful of Year 9s select a subject? Will it be dropped? How will the school manage this? The likelihood that smaller numbers opt for certain subjects will be greater because the pool of students is smaller.
3. Most secondary school have departments with several teachers supporting each other to deliver their subjects. By it's nature, a small school cannot have as many subject specialists. If a teacher is used to planning with colleagues in a large department and/or is struggling in some way, where will the support structures come from? The answer you provided does not answer this in the slightest. Of course Mr Hobson will be working on staffing but I am sure parents would like some answers before they commit.
4. How does refining staffing plans ensure outstanding teaching? What actions will be in place to ensure all teaching is outstanding? And I mean beyond the initial recruitment. This is a fair question as ES have repeatedly said that they will only have outstanding teachers. I am sure all schools would like the same. The reality is that even in very good schools, it is extremely difficult to ensure that all teachers recruited live up to expectations. A staff team needs support and development. An outstanding team is generally built up offer time. It doesn't happen of night..

Much of the information on TSS website is vague and wooly. It does not answer the specifics and the devil is in the detail.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse grammatical errors in my rushed post above.

Anonymous said...

Not sure who you think is an angry Tory voter. I don't want my taxes spent on free schools and I have never voted Tory in my life! I do find it odd that some of ES align themselves to socialist ideals yet support the most divisive tory education policy in a long whole.

Anonymous said...

Answer about plans on ES Facebook. They will be submitted in December.

Anonymous said...

Chatting to a member of staff atTPS, they were resigned to the fact that they would probably become an Academy due to the projected poor GSCE results this coming year.

Anonymous said...

First I'be heard of this.

As I understand things the Government wants all secondary schools to be academies and the tide is certainly heading in that direction.

Anonymous said...

'Chatting to a member of staff atTPS, they were resigned to the fact that they would probably become an Academy due to the projected poor GSCE results this coming year.'

Mud-slinging lies. Which member of staff? What projections? All the money in my pocket says you can't back that up.

Anonymous said...

Well if all schools become academies the country would be in even bigger debt. Haven't the DfE overspent by about 1 billion with their Academy project? So that is probably the opinion of that member of staff maybe and not fact based.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether the follow-up OFSTED inspection at the Purbeck School has happened yet, following up on the "Notice To Improve" letter issued after the previous one ?
Has the Notice To Improve been closed out yet ?

Anonymous said...

Where is the notice to improve letter? Ther is nothing on the Ofsted website.

Anonymous said...

Ofsted inspection framework from September 2012
34.        A school that has been judged as ‘requires improvement’ will be subject to monitoring by Ofsted. It will normally have a full section 5 re-inspection within a period of two years.

37.        A school that was last inspected before September 2012 and judged to be ‘satisfactory’ is likely to be inspected, under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 (as amended), by the end of the school year 2013/14. It may also receive a monitoring inspection.

It could be any time in the next 18 months.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can see, Purbeck was deemed satisfactory and not a school that requires improvement. They were deemed good in several aspects and not satisfactory across the board. Usually the letter to pupils states if the school has been given 'notice to improve'. There is no mention on this in the letter for Purbeck pupils.

David Furmage said...

Funny , I remember asking the Free Education facebook page set up by a teacher from TPS about the subject of the school becoming an academy a while back. Told that it would never happen and was mocked about it.

Seems now that it might be happening , so can we now have a straight answer about this subject?

Will the TPS go down the academy route? Simple yes or no will be fine thank you:)

Oh and I heard this from a few staff members at the school , plus a few members of staff from Wareham middle. So it seems to being discussed by teachers from various schools

Anonymous said...

19 September 2011
Dear Students
Inspection of The Purbeck School, Wareham, BH20 4PF
You may remember that I visited your school with a team of inspectors recently to see how well you were doing. Thank you for the time you took to talk to us. Here are some of the things that we found out. Your school and sixth form provide you with a satisfactory standard of education. Although the school’s performance declined following the previous inspection, it is once again improving. You make satisfactory progress in lessons and your GCSE and A -level examination results are broadly similar to those of other students nationally. School leaders recognise that until recently your performance in English has been weaker. As a result of their actions and your hard work, results in English improved in 2011. Some aspects of the school’s work, such the care, guidance and support that you receive, are good. The help you get from the inclusion unit is exemplary. The extent to which the school keeps you safe is excellent. Teaching is satisfactory and just over half is good or better. The best teaching is challenging and gets you quickly engaged in your learning. However, some teaching does not develop sufficiently your skills of independent learning.
You enjoy learning and your behaviour is good. You say that bullying is rare and you trust teachers to help you sort out any problems that arise. Your attendance has improved so that it is now above average. Well done! You are keen to develop your talents in art, music and drama. The forthcoming production of ‘Hairspray’ will, I am certain, utilise all your skills. You understand the importance of being healthy and most try to do so. Although you say that teachers are generally interested in your views, you are right to suggest that the school could provide you all with more formal opportunities to discuss your opinions and to influence decision making. Your headteacher and I have agreed that the school should do three things in order to improve.
 Ensure that your achievement improves in all subjects, particularly in English.
 Increasetheproportionofgoodorbetterlessonsandensurethatyouare
actively involved in learning and make faster progress.
 Improvetheopportunitiesthatyourparentsandcarershavetofindouthow
you are doing and use their ideas to help the school improve further.
You can all help by continuing to attend school regularly and participating fully in lessons when teachers plan more challenging things for you to do.
Yours sincerely
Chris Wood
Her Majesty’s Inspector

Anonymous said...

David, which members of staff? Teachers? How many? Senior leaders?
Staff may well discuss its likelihood but it is a decision made by Gove's department so unless they have specifically told this will happen, nobody will be able to answer. It is likely more gossip and conjecture. Also, it will be highly dependent on the results of their next Ofsted inspection. Purbeck has not been deemed a failing school so is unlikely to become an academy at the moment.

Anonymous said...

That production of Hairspray they sold to Ofsted never materialised. Big disappointment to the kids

Anonymous said...

Interesting that OFSTED praised the care, help and support students receive which of goes against one of the one of ES's main justifications for a Swanage school, namely that a large secondary school was by its nature bound to be wanting in these regards. Far be it from me to suggest that any of their other positions may turn out to be equally spurious.

Anonymous said...

I find that letter to the pupils very encouraging. That alongside all the exciting changes, not least the new head, makes me even more pleased that I have chosen to send my child to TPS.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there must have been a reason for the cancellation of Hairspray. Didn't realise it had been called off because I saw Purbeck students performing some numbers from it in a concert at the Lighthouse with all the Purbeck Pyramid schools.
I also very much doubt they 'sold it' to ofsted but rather the inspectors picked up on the enthusiasm of the kids when they were in the school. A group of the kids would have been interviews by inspectors and asked about what they enjoy, learn, think needs improving, etc.

Anonymous said...

Purbeck School have NEVER been given a notice to improve.

More direct and deliberate lies.

Education Swanage need to get their house in order.

Anonymous said...

Education Swanage it seems is going to be held responsible by some for every comment or post critical of TPS.
These posts are all anonymous so as the facebook guy cried libel i would think the ES members could do the same.
From what i have seen they (ES) have kept a dignified silence despite some pretty strong provocation.

Anonymous said...

Assuming the posters who make bitter and inaccurate remarks about TPS are in favour of ES may I suggest they would do their cause more good by observing a tactful silence or better still by finding the answers to some of the questions about how ES is going to do any better than TPS with the same human material.

The Postman said...

Hi all..your Postman here.

This thread seems to be getting out of hand, with unpleasant accusations and personal insults being slung around, all the worse because made under the cloak of anonymity. Can I ask people to stick to objective debate, otherwise I think we'll just have to close the thread, which would be a shame for those who want genuine discussion or would like to know more.
Thanks. Mike Hadley

Anonymous said...

Agree totally.

By the way, are individual IP address recorded when someone makes a posting on this blog? I hope so.

David Furmage said...

Thing is with this site is anyone will say what they want too behind a anoynomous , cos they think they are untouchable , though there's a thing called an IP address:)

I reckon if you got rid of anoynomous you would not have so many abusive and stupid posts . But I see this wont happenso you will always get petty people hiding behind their screens.

Anonymous said...

Having hunted high and low on the OFSTED website, I can find nothing to say that a Notice to Improve was issued to the Purbeck School. I apologise for my earlier post but I was told this last summer by someone closely involved with the school who I thought knew about what they were talking about. It seems they were wrong. I am not a member of Education Swanage so it is unfair to accuse them of anything.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the use of anonymity, if you look at the majority of posts here they are not malicious or libelous. Those that are have been removed and it is good that there are such things as IP addresses especially if someone breaks the law. However I reserve my right to anonymity on the subject of the free school because this is the only way I feel I can truly have my say. None of my posts could be remotely considered libelous or malicious but have added to the mostly healthy debate on here. It is a shame that we don't feel we can use our names and I was initially sceptical when people were saying that when their opinions became known they were given the cold shoulder by some of those with a different opinion. However I have now experienced 'The Cold Shoulder' myself just because I don't agree with a free school and that is why I post anonymously here. In no way do I use my anonymity because I think I am untouchable. I hope the debate continues and that the Postman doesn't have to close this thread because of the actions of the few.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note that the latest international league table of education systems place Finland at the top again and that the Fins have a comprehensive system with very little in the way of choice. I would not put money on increasing choice in Swanage doing much for quality.

David Furmage said...

Well if people give you the cold shoulder , then it's them who have a problem with themselves and to be honest maybe going back to school from them might be good idea , they might then grow up :)

It's a small town , where we know each other , our kids mix with each other , but to decide cos people have different opinion , we must be spiteful :( . People think that the 10 commandments are rules of life and the law. I say we should get rid of these completely and have 1 main rule. And that is " Don't be a dick " simple:)

Anonymous said...

I see in the Advertiser this interesting quote:

'As it stands, the fledgling secondary's first pupils will be taught at Harrow House FOR AT LEAST (caps added) one term before moving to their new premises.'

Judging by the accompanying drawing, the school will have two wings extending off a central area. Each wing looks to offer 8 classrooms or admin space. There is no evidence of a sports hall commensurate for a school of 400 of this age.

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