Grantham Journal letters: Parents’ concerns not represented

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My daughter attends Walton Girls’ High School and I have seen their proposal to change it into a mixed-sex school (co-educational).

I am very concerned about this. I fear that to become mixed-sex Walton’s will no longer be unique and it will lose significant strength.

I am deeply worried that this proposal is being forced through no matter what.

It is obvious that the multi academy trust (called DALP) is displaying considerable hypocrisy, because their core values categorically state: “Our core focus is the accomplishment and development of each individual student. We believe that this is best achieved through maintaining and developing each academy’s unique identity and individual characteristics.”

The economic argument DALP presented by the school about wanting to attain their full pupil admission number (PAN) is extremely short-sighted and feeble. The school seems to be on track to becoming ‘outstanding’ at the next Ofsted inspection and this will almost certainly increase future applications of girls to Walton as their first choice anyway.

Together with Grantham’s forecasted rise in population, these factors mitigate their PAN argument.

If you visit the school website, the opening screen is overtly biased with the included quotations all in favour of the proposal. This may unduly influence any reader who will want to form their own independent opinion based on facts alone, rather than on the opinions of others. Also, there is no specific area on the website (a forum) to discuss things openly.

The so-called ‘consultation process’ presented is not consultation but is a cynical PR exercise. This is because they have not stated what proportion of those who will tick “not in favour of the proposal” would be needed to stop the proposal going any further.

We were also given ‘parent-unfriendly-times’ for drop-in sessions and the formal presentation, all of which are during normal daytime working hours (4-5.30pm). We want to hear what people need to say and have our voice heard in an open forum.

The school’s presentation of this is highly prejudiced and the consultation is designed to get the result they want. In short, I feel that the school is probably misleading people and this has all the hallmarks of trying to achieve a done-deal.

I urge all those who have concerns to make them known via the school’s questionnaire and send a copy directly to Ofsted.

When and if the proposal formally is submitted, please write to the Secretary of State for Education, because I have a strange feeling that once it is submitted, our concerns may not be fairly represented and edited in such a way to soften them up.

Mrs Deborah Kim