Hazel Grove High School News

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HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy

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School Worker
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
17th May 2011 at 12:05PM
I work at an academy in Trafford, though the school was "Outstanding" to start with. Although I am support staff, I can say that nothing where I am has changed, due to the Academy status. Though that was the intention of the school, if anything things have improved.

The problem I can see happening are as follows:

Firstly the current Head and Governors at the school maybe very good, and may do everything similar to now but with more money, things may get much better who knows. However, the problems can be should these people leave, and the next set are a bad set of people, the same levels of protection are not in place.

That said stockport schools get more from the council then those in Trafford do, such as a lot of HR etc. So there maybe a bigger effect here.

The extra money the school gets directly, the council will try and claw back as much as possible, councils tend to charge an academy more for the same service because of the "admin" costs.

Are the above things a real problem? I don't think so, the bigger issues affecting schools right now are the direct funding cuts anyway. Becoming an academy should offer a small buffer against this. I know schools not academy who have lost 90% of their capital spending allowances, so the rest of the budget is the same but this bit is ruined. Academies can potential share this budget cut.

These budget cuts are from National Governement though, do not believe the spin from politicians, yes the education budget maybe protected, but local school budgets aren't directly or they now have to buy services previously provided by the national government for them. These cuts are real, although having seen the figures I believe are easy to implement without "pain".

Should it become an Academy? I cannot speak for the school so I don't know, but they must have a reason to want it.

Should you worry? I wouldn't, these new academies are not the same as the old style ones (e.g Avondale).

Is it definitely a good idea? Only time will tell im afraid.
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Sandra
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
18th May 2011 at 6:10PM
I think it is interesting that they are allowing the children to vote on the idea too - whether serious or just for fun - it would be interesting to know what the kids are being told about it and what they think about it.
For me, I don't like the thought of anything that may cause disruption to my children's education. I still have children of primary age so will have a long relationship with HGHS to come. If it is a smooth transition for the children and benefits their education and progression then it is a good idea. If it is possible to cause problems for the existing students then no. At the end of the day the children still have to compete outside of the Academy/School to win university places etc etc, so their level of education, exams etc must be comparable with others.
Finally it would be interesting to know how much weight our opinions have on the decision process, or is it just inevitable anyway????
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OliverJohnstone
Hazel Grove Councillor

OliverJohnstone
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
18th May 2011 at 9:20PM
Sandra, it is important to note that this will be a long term objective that will require much planning and consultation with parents and other interested bodies. I believe that current regulations mean that schools cannot officially make this transition until it has attained OUTSTANDING status on its OFSTED report. At the moment I believe HGHS is rated as SATISFACTORY. I could be wrong although I do not believe it has quite reached the conditions for Outstanding as of yet. So we are talking a long term strategy not a radical, off the cuff switch.

These schools are given more control over their curriculum and are outside of local authority control but they still operate basically within the state sector.

In this sense, it will perform exactly as it would now, except with greater autonomy for teachers, parents and the local community that would have otherwise been under the remit of the Local Authority - in this case Stockport Council.
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Terri Oldacre
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
19th May 2011 at 1:29AM
Have you read the letter from Hazel Grove High school regarding becoming an academy?? Not sure what it all means??Need more time to have discussions and ask questions??

If so Union reps are happy to discuss anything one on one by e-mail or a community meeting. They are trying to set up a meeting before the deadline next week. If you are interested in finding out more please e-mail the union rep angela.bowen@stockport.gov.uk .There are two sides to becoming an academy. Our children's future is the key. Please forward this to anyone who has an investment in the high school. It is up to the community to stand together on this one.
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Debbieh
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
19th May 2011 at 4:04AM
My feeling was that the information has been kept confusing to those it has been sent to so that we dont actually know what to say for the best, so the person proposing this gets their own way!?!?!?
Anyway if they have to wait till they get an outstanding Ofsted report I doubt theres a lot of worrying need to be put into it?!?
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OliverJohnstone
Hazel Grove Councillor

OliverJohnstone
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
19th May 2011 at 6:15AM
What is the union's position regarding HGHS becoming an academy? What advice will the union be giving to parents and the community?
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School Worker
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
19th May 2011 at 2:17PM
Unions will more then likely oppose the move.

I am the Unison rep in the school I work in, we had several meetings about it. There are several issues from our point of view with regards to less protection regarding T&Cs of contracts.

Where I am no teaching union or well in the school objected. Teaching unions are again against the idea primarily, for a multitude of reasons. Take the following website with a pince of salt, like I hope you do the pro academy stuff. http://www.antiacademies.org.uk/ is site highlighting problems/ concerns.

There is to a political divide on these nationally, as there usually is.

As Oliver said though, only "Outstanding" schools are deemed eligible, then "Good" schools can be considered. "Satisfactory" are unable to apply I believe. I don't follow local schools, as I don't have children nor do i work in them, so I have no idea of the schools rating.

One thing I would say is all the "extra" money a school says it will get, I would take away atleast 70% of that total, that is about the extra money.

Hope that extra information helps.
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John
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
19th May 2011 at 6:49PM
Someone earlier on mentioned that the school had to be outstanding by OFSTED but this is not that case as I believe that if Hazel Grove High School has been taken under the wing by an already converted outstanding academy then it can go head.

To me this is just privatisation of the education system via the back door and more to do with political ideology than improving the education system . We all know the conservatives like big businesses and want to reduce the influence of the local authorities, so what better way than allowing companies and governors who are not democratically elected to control our schools. Also how do we know what sort of experience the governors have of running a school on a day to day basis.

A few things I would like to know if I was a parent is why the consultation period is only two weeks?

From what I heard the the governors made this decision on the 28th of March but didn't notify stakeholders until around mid May allowing only a 2 week consultation period which is the governments minimum consultation period. This seems a tad unfair really as I have heard other schools having consultation periods of months.

At present local authorities don't control schools, they support and challenge schools on decisions. They LEA give so much support to schools including special education needs, behaviour support, social care services, staff training and development, HR, Pay roll, building maintenance etc etc you get the idea. So around the 10% the LEA take from the schools budget for these services it will instead go directly to the school but the school well have then go out and find other ways of getting this support. As the academy would be a single business entity it would not get the reduced economies of scale for this support as it would it does currently. So if the cost of buying these services in the open market isn't less than the LEA, whats the gain of leaving the LEA?

At the moment there is only a one year cash benefit from the government, so this has not been set in stone what sort of cash benefit the school will receive next year. There has already been some academies who are making cuts and redundancies, i know a lot of schools are are being financially squeezed at the moment but reducing structural costs rather than changing status would seem the most logic way of solving this problem.
I have read that all schools will receive a 25,000 grant from the government when they transfer to an academy to go towards the legal fees which will cost on average 78,000. So where will the 53,000 come from?

Another point I would like to know for what educational reasons do the governors have for proposing for Hazel Grove High School to become an academy as there is no evidence, amid a great deal of research, that academies out-perform other schools. They would have to be significant for the hassle the school would incur?


At the moment the National Curriculum is being slimmed down and all schools will have the freedom to change it were appropriate. In the recent EBacc league tables academies have under performed state schools because they have narrowed the curriculum, limiting subjects such as history, geography and languages which excludes students from a range of subjects.

I have heard that academies will allow increased collaboration with other academies, be the centre of the community and allow parents input in to school but schools already have big ties with other local schools not some academy that is 20 miles away. Also isn't the school already the centre of the community and such groups as the parents teacher association already exist.

Anyway they are my views on the current situation having doing a lot of reading about academies. I just hope that enough parents want to hear both sides of the story to have a proper consultation.

Thanks for reading



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Parent
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
20th May 2011 at 6:15AM
You talk a lot of sense John!

I also found out from the DfE website that schools do not have to be 'outstanding'. They have to be 'performing well' which is judged by a number of criteria.

I would share your concerns about limiting options (which is likely to be finance driven) and it will be interesting to see what happens with the EBacc over the next couple of years, as you are right... Children need to take English, maths, two science qualifications, a modern foreign language or classical language and either history or geography.
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Parent
Drifter
Re: HGHS V Hazel Grove Academy
20th May 2011 at 10:54AM
Unison seemed to be having a small protest against converting to an Academy when I drove past the high school this afternoon.
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