Rydon Community College: The chair of governors responds

Chair of governors at Rydon Community College said if the council try to ‘tidy up’ the education system in the STARS area it will be a ‘turkey’.

Wednesday, 15th July 2015, 4:23 pm
Rydon Community College march to Sullington Parish Hall before drop-in SUS-150907-162028001

This month West Sussex County Council has launched a consultation to review the age of transfer within a group of South Downs schools, including Rydon Community College, Storrington.

On Wednesday (July 8) a drop-in session organised by the council in Sullington Village Hall was met by great opposition from parents, teachers and pupils who do not want to see Rydon be closed or reduced to a two year school.

Alan Brien has been the chair of governors for Rydon for 18 years.

After the meeting, he said: “We were delighted with the number of people who turned out for the meeting last week.

“The show of strength from our staff and the strongly held views expressed by parents, governors, and many other supporters, reinforced the passion we have for our children and our school.”

At the meeting, Tanya Davis-Munro, general adviser, support and intervention told attendees that Key Stage 2 results were ‘well under the national average’ at Rydon. Mr Brien claimed this is not the case. He said: “Rydon was criticised by some uninformed people for poor Key Stage 2 results.

“Key Stage 2 is the sum of six years primary education and two terms at Rydon. If our school was letting down our children we would be in special measures. The opposite is true.

“Ofsted judge our school to be ‘good with outstanding features’. They recognise that children learn well at Rydon and they do.

“The primary schools are working really hard to improve standards and we work with them constantly.

“Critics of those schools need to understand that problems are complex with no easy answers – it’s co-operation that will produce results, not lobbing grenades at one another.”

Principal manager for capital planning and projects, Graham Olway, led the discussion on the evening. Although he said there are no predetermined plans for the schools in question, Mr Brien said he fears the consultation could lead to downsizing Rydon to only Year 7 and 8 pupils, which he claimed would not be financially viable and risk staff jobs. He said: “The county council wants to tidy up education in West Sussex and move to one change of school at 11 years old. If nothing else changes, that will make Rydon a two year school.

“That is not a system welcomed by parents, does nothing for the continuity of education for children, nor does it provide any sort of career opportunity for a headteacher, classroom teachers, or any of our support staff. In short, it’s a turkey!

“All the feedback from the meeting suggests those parents who want Year 6 children back in their primary schools also want to see Rydon become an 11 to 16 secondary school.

“The county council should listen to that. A small secondary school this side of the A24, teaching children from our community, with a local headteacher accountable to our parents, is clearly the way forward.

“If funds are scarce now that might have to be in the longer term, but the county council should tell parents now that Rydon will not be reduced in scale.

“We want a first class school that should be the pride of our community. Parents and children expect nothing less.”

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