Parents’ outrage at ‘disgraced’ Leyland school

Lancashire County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson
Lancashire County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson

Furious parents have demanded urgent action be taken at a Leyland high school, after the Guardian revealed staff are ‘not ruling out’ the possibility of striking.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said staff at Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College are unhappy with the management, and “want to be treated as professionals and feel valued at work.”

Lancashire County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson

Lancashire County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson

Now, worried parents have taken to social networking sites to vent their anger and have called for Lancashire County Council and Ofsted to get involved.

The Guardian contacted a spokesman for the education watchdog, Ofsted, who said the organisation was aware of the issues at Leyland St Mary’s, but said it would not comment on the matter at this time.

Lancashire County Council has also now responded to say that it is working with the school in a bid to resolve the problems.

The chair of governors also said the school is going through a ‘difficult time’ following the fire in September, and said a number of teachers had been off sick.

People have commented on the Guardian’s story on Facebook, saying that some students have had numerous teachers for the same subject in a short space of time.

Parents are particularly anxious about how the changes at the school since the fire, and the possibility of teachers striking in future, will affect Year 11 pupils preparing to sit their GCSE exams.

Kim Nixon said: “When the repercussions of the staff being off means some of the kids have had five or six different teachers for the same subject since September, it’s unfair on the children.

“They are always the ones that lose out.”

Bev Wells Reynolds said: “It’s such a shame that one of the best schools is on its knees.”

Marie Cowdall added: “It’s OK saying teachers should suck it up and get on with the job but it isn’t quite as easy when you put 110 per cent in and the management and sadly some kids don’t appreciate it.

“Eventually something breaks and often it’s health.

“Seems like the whole situation needs looking at from outside agencies and suitable long term supply should be found.”

Marie Donn said: “Maybe we should take a stand and contact Ofsted.”

Annie Erin Whelan raged: “It’s a disgrace that school. How the Year 11s are meant to get through their GCSEs is beyond me.

“It’s OK for some of the more advanced kids but what about the kids who are struggling, they don’t have the same teacher for more than a week!

“I’m absolutely appalled at the support the kids have had since September.”

An online petition has also been launched about the troubled school, which says that an investigation by Lancashire County Council ‘is of paramount importance’.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools at LCC, said: “I am aware of the concerns of some staff at Leyland St Mary’s, and we are working with the school to resolve them as quickly as possible.

“We are all conscious of the difficult times faced by the entire community at St Mary’s since the fire, and the county council will continue to provide as much support as we can to the school.”

Christopher Raven, chair of governors at the Royal Avenue school, added: “The school is going through a difficult time and we are aware that there are some concerns among the staff team.

“I’d like to reassure parents that we are working hard to resolve them.

“We’re also aware that some subjects have been taught by a number of different staff during the year.

“Though not ideal, this was unavoidable as we had to operate on a split site during autumn term, and staff sickness has been higher than usual too.

“We’re doing our best to address these issues and are putting extra revision support in place for Year 11 pupils, which we’ll be notifying parents about shortly.

“As always, our priority is to provide the best possible education for our students and to keep school life as normal as we possibly can, particularly for Year 11 pupils, while building work is under way.”

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