Sunday 22 December 2013

Uncertainty dogs Gladstone Park Primary at end of term

As the Autumn term ended amidst the traditional school Christmas festivities, Gladstone Park Primary School parents were disappointed to hear that what had appeared to be a positive development for the school had fallen through.

Liz Hayward, head of the Ofsted rated 'Outstanding'  Kingsgate Primary in Camden has been appointed Executive Headteacher of Gladstone Park and had written to parents inviting them to a meeting to discuss her plans for the school on Thursday December 19th.

Gladstone parent campaigners then heard on Thursday that due to changed circumstances at Kingsgate, which is due to double in size over the next few years, neither that school's governing body, nor Camden LA, were willing for the arrangement to go ahead.

In fact the Parents Action Group had suggested a Federation with Kingsgate Primary to Brent Council at the beginning of the school's current troubles and had seen it as an alternative to the forced academisation  that they had opposed. There were precedents for cross-borough cooperation and the geographical distance between the two schools is not great. Parents were keen to remain a local authority school with democratic accountability.

At the time this was turned down as a possibility and the governing body went ahead with the selection of CfBT as academy sponsor.

The announcement of Liz Hayward's appointment was made shortly after parents were told that the current head of Gladstone Park was leaving at the end of this term. I understand that Liz Hayward was due to work for three days a week at Gladstone Park until April when CfBT would have appointed their own headteacher for the school.  Her appointment was intended to stabilise the school and give clear and effective leadership. governing body.

It is obvious that given the ups and downs of the last few months that stability and clear and effective leadership are needed more than ever, and perhaps even more importantly, open and candid communication with parents and carers.  Brent Council and lead member for Children and Families, Michael Pavey, have a vital role to play in ensuring that happens.

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