Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Evidence of Tony Blair lying and Peter Vardy spin... This was just one man's opinion, but he was in a pretty good place to make a comment. I'm currently trying to reach Mr Potter and if I do, I'll update this story.
Dear Mr Blair,

Having read your statement about the new King’s Academy in Middlesbrough as reported in the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette (March 18th 2004) (Mr Blair told the Commons how pleased he was to see the changes compared with the school which was there) and having been Deputy Headteacher of that very school (Coulby Newham School), I think some truths need to be established.

Coulby Newham was a successful school. Its OFSTED reports of March 1995 and December 2000 revealed a well-managed school where most of the teaching was good, very good or excellent and where pupils were happy and secure.

Most importantly, in September 2002, HMI reported that the school was even better than at its last inspection. It provided a good quality of education, a good climate for learning and good management and leadership. Standards had improved by encouraging pupils to work harder and to better effect. HMI commented on the calm atmosphere, the shared humour and the mutual respect between staff and pupils. The contented frame of mind which predominated in the school was a major achievement. Pupils were keen to learn and followed instructions willingly. The school was succeeding in steadily raising pupils’ attainment. Indeed in the value-added statistics for the 2002 examinations Coulby Newham was the second highest attaining school in Middlesbrough (beaten narrowly by the selective Macmillan College).

Most significantly HMI stated very clearly that the new school (ie the King’s Academy) should adapt aspects of Coulby Newham’s good practice. HMI recommended that “a major contribution to the establishment of the new school would be to identify those things that are done well at Coulby Newham, and why they work well, so that the new school can consider how to transfer and adapt the aspects of good practice to which many of its pupils will be accustomed, within its intended practices and structures.”

Finally, the current Year 11 at the Academy includes Coulby Newham School pupils who achieved outstanding results in Key Stage 3 SATs. They were confidently expected to achieve at least 40% A* to C grades in the 2004 examinations.

I am sorry that in order to play up the significance of the King’s Academy, which is an unproven school, it is necessary to denigrate the very significant achievements of Coulby Newham. This is not the first time this tactic has been employed and those of us who worked at the school and who have offered a lifetime of public service are tired of this approach.

Yours sincerely,

Gordon Potter


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