THOMAS CLARKSON: Would you be pleased if your child went there, despite BSF funding?

PUBLISHED: 13:45 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:08 02 June 2010

HOORAY! Another handout, Thomas Clarkson Community College in Wisbech, is one of the first schools in the country to benefit from the Government s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Ask yourself though, Would I be pleased if my own child or

HOORAY! Another handout, Thomas Clarkson Community College in Wisbech, is one of the first schools in the country to benefit from the Government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

Ask yourself though, Would I be pleased if my own child or grandchild went there?

According to another paper, there was this month, a gang fight between East European and native children.

The police are not there to enforce discipline, but they are there nevertheless.

The GCSE results are still some of the worst in the whole country. So where has it all gone wrong?

How about looking at the sheer size of this vast comprehensive?

In any school of well over 1,000 pupils the number of disruptive boys and girls is much larger, than it would be in a smaller school.

Lack of good teachers (the very best teachers do, in fact, remain through this period because they, alone, can keep order) means lack of good lessons.

Bad corridor behaviour cannot be punished because the pupils just run off anonymously. The teachers are completely powerless and, yes, they can stop caring.

The corridors become battlegrounds, home time becomes very dangerous.

Lessons are a farce. New teachers do not stay and then more new teachers do not come. Staff go off sick. Or they get "stress" on full pay.

Parents become very angry indeed. An atmosphere of hopelessness, anger and rudeness hangs over many large schools. Compared to some secondary schools I have worked in, HMP Whitemoor looks civilized.

If this is the situation, why are the government pouring good money after bad? Will it really make a difference to put chromium plating on the front porch?

Will new teachers flood in if their pay is raised a notch? Will efficiency improve if the administrative cohort is doubled in size?

The Thomas Clarkson has come a long way since it was put into special measures.

At long last, it has a very good new head - Ms Strudwick - who, by all accounts, is doing a fine job. There are, according to the school's website, no staff vacancies for the first time in years.

But I still have doubts. Why is one nationalised comprehensive the only choice for Wisbech adolescents?

By a huge majority, we have just voted for a Conservative County Council. So why is it already falling so neatly into step with Labour's unaffordable "investment" programme in educational dinosaurs? I had hoped for some fresh ideas.

Silly me!

MIKE STALLARD

Via email


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