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Don’t forget, Highcrest was once a failing school
10:40am Monday 2nd July 2012 in Your Letters
RE: The debate over Highcrest Academy’s new admission procedures and banding tests.
I HAVE been following the various correspondence in the BFP letters page regarding Highcrest Academy, and it saddens me, that the majority of your writers and to a lesser extent the reporting staff, have just missed the whole point. Let us take a step back in time to the old Hatters Lane School. And let’s be brutally honest, in its latter years it had lost its way, the buildings were run down, site maintenance was under- funded and to an extent neglected. The standard of teaching was suffering terminal despair and the academic achievement of the pupils was low as was the self esteem of staff and students. In all a failing school aspiring parents avoided. And as a local resident I can honestly say, if there was trouble, you bet at the bottom of it was Hatters Lane. Do your correspondents want to go back to that?
Let us review the present situation, the new school, or academy, has, with a lot of hard work from the new staff, the parents and students, under the leadership of a dedicated head and the senior teaching staff, moved forward. The school now faces the opposite of its predecessor. It is over-subscribed.
I have even seen house sales advertised as “within the catchment area of the new Highcrest Academy”. The academic staff who are all very highly qualified, are backed up by a strong independent administrative team and both are ably supported, administratively, socially and financially by a strong and well directed parent run “friends” association. The process of becoming an Academy was not “just done on a whim” but was the subject of a long and in-depth consultation. Views of staff, students and the local community were sought and listened to, some dissented but the majority supported the move. Specialist advisers counselled the staff and Governors and looking at things as a whole it was found to be beneficial on an academic level, administrative and on a financial level to cast off the restrictive yoke of Bucks County Council.
This move is already showing benefits at all levels as the school now is in control and not dictated to by county administrators.
Sadly BCC has in the past had a blinkered view of secondary education that has (in my opinion) been biased to the upper levels of the selective system. The NVR test will help establish an equal spread of ability of those that chose to apply to the Academy. In the four broad bands after SEN and ‘Looked After’ children are given priority, the criteria will be siblings and then those nearest the school.
Please do not destroy by misunderstanding what has taken a long time to build up.
This Academy is one of the jewels in our town’s crown and it deserves your support, for the real beneficiaries of good teaching will not always be the students but will be the greater community.
Anthony Mealing, Community Governor Highcrest Academy