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EDUCATING SALFORD FURY AT IRLAM AND CADISHEAD COLLEGE AS NEW HEAD CHANGES GCSE OPTIONS
 

Star date: 8th September 2017

CONCERN AS PUPILS' GCSE OPTIONS ARE CHANGED – AFTER THEY'VE CHOSEN THEM

Parents and pupils at Irlam and Cadishead College are furious following the new head's decision to suddenly change the curriculum and GCSE options, after the subjects had already been chosen.

One lad chose IT, history, resistant materials and construction, only to be told he was doing geography, art and history... "I am currently in the process of removing him to another school that can cater for his learning needs" says his mother. The new head of the College, which was taken over by Salford Academy Trust recently, says the changes are in the best interests of the school and pupils.

Full details here...


Irlam and Cadishead College letter to parents Irlam and Cadishead College letter to parents
click image to enlarge

"There is a job to be done here, I think, in educating some of the parents..." Linda Foley, Principal, Irlam and Cadishead College


Parents have been venting their fury after Linda Foley, the new Principal of Irlam and Cadishead College, decided to change the curriculum and GSCE options of Year 10 pupils, after they had already chosen their subjects.

In June, the College became part of the Salford Academy Trust, under the tutelage of Salford City Council, Salford College and the University of Salford, and a new principal was appointed to start officially on 1st September.

Despite improving GCSE results, over the summer she chose to change the curriculum to concentrate on fewer subjects. A letter that went out to parents stated: "For year 10 pupils this means some changes to their diet of subjects and options choices..."

The 'changes' have been met with fury, particularly on the Irlam and Cadishead Community Views Facebook site, with dozens of negative comments about the school.

Kate Holland's son wanted to go into media or become an electrician. He chose IT, history, resistant materials and construction, only to be told when he returned to school this week that he was doing geography, art and history...

"How those subjects will help him with his goal I do not have a clue" Kate told the Salford Star "We are fuming with the school. I waited for calls that haven't been returned and I've been into school to be told 'We make the choices for the child's best learning outcomes and to set them up for a bright future of higher education'... What a load of fluff... I am currently in the process of removing him to another school that can cater for his learning needs."

Collette Rose's foster daughter chose to remain in the area when her family moved out, primarily to be with lifelong friends at the school. With a complicated and emotionally draining previous home life, the decision was about stability...

"Weeks before the summer holidays my daughter, who's just gone into Year 10, had made her a conscious effort choosing her options; we read through the booklet and returned the slip" Collette explained "She excels in her work when she's mindset...so she was looking forward to starting her chosen options."

Collette added that when these options were changed she became "disheartened" and "told the head of year that she was just going to be naughty instead..."

Natalie Allanson, expressed the frustrations... "This current Year 10 has had to put up with more changes since Year 7 than any other year group. They are on their third head teacher, they have had more changes to the teaching methods and lessons. High turnover of teaching staff. Now they can't even take the options they want to take..."

The gist of comments from other parents were that the school was 'messing with children's futures', that the options handed to them had nothing to do with their career choice and that the change was more to do with the school tables than its pupils.

The Salford Star had a long chat with Linda Foley this morning and she was adamant that altering the curriculum was in the best interests of the children...

"I'm sorry that it has upset parents" she said "I kind of anticipated that some people would be a bit upset but I am a little bit surprised that there hasn't been more patience. After a day and a half in, you don't expect it. The new timetable is still evolving and parents just have to give it time. We are dealing with cases individually, and what I'm hearing back is that once parents have vented their frustrations and actually sat down and talked about it we're able to resolve it."

Linda, with a background as an OFSTED inspector, an education advisor and, as a head teacher, turning around two failing schools, is convinced that the new, more traditional model will be successful...
 
"The children came in, I did an assembly and explained we have done this because these options will help you get on any university course or apprenticeship" she said "It's a really good solid curriculum diet, and I know it works because I've implemented this model in other schools, and, as an inspector, I have gone into many outstanding schools, and one of the ways you get to be outstanding is to have an outstanding curriculum. This is my area of expertise, to help children to aspire to whatever they dream to do, and I know that the curriculum we offer students will not disadvantage them in any way.

"There is a job to be done here, I think, in educating some of the parents" she added "One of the parents said to me yesterday, 'My son wants to be a teacher and he is not now able to do childcare'; so I explained that 'What your son needs is good GCSEs, A levels or B-techs to go to university...in order to be a teacher you do not need to study childcare'. Another student said they wanted to work in media and I said 'You don't need to do media studies at GCSE'."

"I think there's a misapprehension that children need a vocational qualification at GCSE; they don't" she insisted "All they need is good results at GCSE."

Linda added that the school's 'passion' subjects like drama, dance, art and music would be protected but "child by child, parent by parent, family by family, I am trying to resolve these issues..."

Indeed, some parents, like Natalie, who have been in to see school staff, have had their children's GCSE options partly restored but there is still confusion over why pupils can't take subjects they are either good at or interested in.

"In this academy, historically the children have really, really not achieved their potential" Linda explained "These are really bright, able children but they have not had perhaps the amount of challenge that there should have been. I'm a professional person. I have made a professional judgement about what is in the best interests of these children; that is my job. And I just need the parents to give us an opportunity.

"I felt it would have been wrong for the children in Year 10 to go ahead with the curriculum they had" she said "When you go into a new school you have to show an impact immediately. People have to realise that if you do what you've always done, you're going to get what you've always got..."

wrote
at 7:23:33 AM on Sunday, September 10, 2017
It shold be noted [ L Kay ] that the pupils still cover the basics. This controversy is about the additional options.
 
L Kay wrote
at 1:50:47 AM on Saturday, September 9, 2017
I agree with the headteacher, you need to learn the basics before specialising in any vocation. GCSE level is the foundation of a child's education, the very beginning. Get basic GCSEs in core subjects then go to college/university or do an apprenticeship and then specialise. Children in years gone by did not have the choice of random ridiculous subjects like 'resistant materials' and were made to study solid core subjects regardless of whether they spat their dummies out or not and the parents would have backed the teachers. What's the point in knowing about resistant materials if you can't add 1+1. Stop trying to take short cuts; get educated properly before trying to skip into a profession.
 
Adam Drinkwater wrote
at 1:50:27 AM on Saturday, September 9, 2017
This has nothing to do with helping pupils at Irlam High and everything to do with making the school look good by making sure every student is doing the Ebacc. More pupils getting good grades on the ebacc means higher leage table postions for the school and nothing to do with the long term prospects for children. And as for high education post 16 is in an absolute crisis and im sure pendleton college/salford city college has had a fair few scandals recently, and from my experience Uni can be a complete waste of time
 
wrote
at 1:50:15 AM on Saturday, September 9, 2017
“Linda, with a background as an OFSTED inspector, an education advisor and, as a head teacher,” As soon as I saw ‘Ofsted inspector’ and ‘educational advisor’, I thought; ‘another knows everything except about teaching’.
 
Phil Hogan wrote
at 1:29:38 PM on Friday, September 8, 2017
I think the "hard line " approach is totally inappropriate and the head teacher is incredibly patronising towards parents with her comments. It’s a bit late in my son’s education for someone to come in again and change things around. If the head teacher is an ex ofstead inspector it just means she will be gone within a year or so like the last 2. This school needs stability not a fly by night head teacher. This happened with my daughter when the school failed big time in 2014 as she was ready to leave. This school is totally to blame with their temporary teaching staff and unsettling of subjects. They need to start with the staffing issues from scratch. My son was so happy with the subjects before the holidays but thanks to the power hungry and stubborn new head teacher, and the subject cull, she has destroyed what was going to be a great last 18months.
 
wrote
at 1:29:32 PM on Friday, September 8, 2017
My daughter is in year 8 in this school and i am looking forward to working with the teachers and my daughter to ensure she gets the best education available to her because its a joint effort. I totally agree with the new head and i am pleased to see the focus on the core subjects because with these core subjects they will take our children in any direction.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 12:23:35 PM on Friday, September 8, 2017
See comment by 'wrote' below... sorry, the music option was our mistake - there are plans, the head said, to bring it back
 
wrote
at 12:16:04 PM on Friday, September 8, 2017
It gets me that she goes on about music as though they still teach it at the school but that was cut last year and music is not an option at the school!
 
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