17th February 2011
We have seen the return this week of our Year 9 students who have been in Germany with Mr Skirrow and Miss Holmes to take part in the Comenius Project. This is an endeavour which is funded by the European Union to encourage co-operation between young people of school age across the various countries in Europe. Our project is shared between schools from France, Denmark, Italy, Germany and the UK. The first leg in Germany was a tremendous success with students experiencing something of that country’s culture and lifestyle as well as collaborating on a shared project on the misuse of alcohol and drugs. Next February will see us play host to students from other nations and our focus will be ‘New Technology’. If anyone has any suggestions for great technological experiences to include in the week, we would welcome their input
We had our staff and parents consultation meetings with governors yesterday on the issue of Academy status. Our governors have had strong representations from the staff and the unions in school on the issue of pay and conditions of service agreements. If we became an Academy neither I nor the governors would have any interest in departing from these agreements so we will have to give this further thought to see if there is a way of allaying these worries.
The parental consultation meeting comprised twenty three of our parents, three parents from the primary schools and two other members of the Portishead community. More than half the governing body were there in person and all governors will have written notes and minutes made available to them.
Both meetings explored the issue of Academy conversion in an intelligent and rigorous way. The minutes are available on the website here and parents may be interested to read and consider the points raised. The main concerns raised at the Parents and Community Consultation meeting were around the ethical dilemma of who might be disadvantaged if we were to benefit from Academy conversion. The point that I would wish to make in response to this searching question is that Gordano will lose many times in the current reorganisation of school finances caused by ‘the cuts’. A great many other schools will benefit, especially those in less economically advantaged areas. I feel that we owe it to our children here in Portishead that we do what we can to set some limits on the financial harm that will come to the school. I explored this in one of last week’s blogs.
We have had a number of useful e-mails and blogs from parents. All of these will be made available to Governors, as will any further contributions. We hope to reach a decision on the matter by 31st March.