24th November 2011
I usually notify parents of changes to staffing at the end of the academic year but I need to make an exception to that practice today. Our Deputy Headteacher, Lesley Greenway, will be moving next summer to take up the Headship at Chiltern Trinity Technology College in Bridgwater. While we will miss her enormously this is wonderful news for both Lesley and for her new school. She is an exceptional school leader and will be an incredible Headteacher at CTTC. I am very glad that she has a long notice to serve here which will allow us a very thorough handover period as she passes on her detailed knowledge and skills to colleagues who will be taking up her duties.
As I write today’s blog, I have just received the numbers of staff who will be taking industrial action next week. Wednesday’s strike is part of a national day of action on public service pension changes and the rights and wrong of that issue are far beyond my jurisdiction. It is my responsibility to decide on whether it will be safe to open the school or not. The overwhelming majority of the teaching staff will be on strike. The law does not allow me to bring in outsiders to undertake the work of striking colleagues nor can I direct staff who are not striking to cover for those who are. I am sure that parents will understand that this makes it impossible for us to be open on Wednesday, 30th November and I greatly regret the difficulties that this will cause to some families.
It has been a long wait but we “mobilise” next week in preparation for our construction project. The contractors for the new Sixth Form Study Centre will be Wilmott Dixon and we look forward to a very positive relationship with them. As the building site sits right at the front of the school there will inevitably be more disruption to the school than we had been used to with the English Faculty project last year. In particular we will lose the access road which connects the Clevedon Road entrance to the St Mary’s Road gates. I shall be writing to parents later today with full details about the impact which this will have on the few families who drive onto site to pick up their children. I am certain that the acquisition of a brilliant new facility will be well worth the short term travails.
Tonight we shall be welcoming back students from last year’s Year 11 to receive their GCSE certificates. Gemma Cooper from the BBC TV and Radio weather team will be joining us as guest of honour. Gemma is an old Gordanian and it will be great to hear from her about how her time at Gordano has stood her in such good stead for her career in broadcasting. Our students did tremendously well in their exams last year and although we live in times of high youth unemployment and economic worry, education remains the best possible investment in one’s future. Gordanians past and present know the truth of that sentiment.