Ex-head ‘insulted’ by Letchworth school name change

A FORMER headteacher of a Letchworth GC school has said the decision to rename it is “heart-breaking”.

David Cripps, who was the head at Radburn Primary School for 11 years until retiring in 2002, has voiced his dismay after the Comet reported last week that the school would be called the Garden City Academy from September.

The school in Radburn Way, which received a notice to improve by Ofsted last March, will become an academy in a move imposed by the Government’s Department of Education.

“This decision seems to me to be an insult to the generations of children whose first steps in education were at Radburn, their parents and school governors who supported the school enthusiastically and also to the dozens of dedicated staff whose efforts throughout many years created a quality school in the often difficult circumstances of that part of the town,” said Mr Cripps.

“While I am sure the current staff and governors at Radburn had little alternative to becoming an academy at this time - they stood no chance given the current Ofsted regime and underhand government tactics - the school’s decision to drop the name Radburn should be a matter of great shame. I do think it’s heart-breaking.

“What is wrong with the name Radburn Academy? And what will the other Garden City schools be called when they are forced into or choose academy status?”

The Comet contacted the current head Linda Meredith for a response but she declined to comment.

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Another Letchworth GC primary school has also become an academy, with pupils and staff celebrating its official opening last week.

Woolgrove School, which caters for students with moderate learning disabilities, is the first special school in Hertfordshire to achieve academy status.

Headteacher Susan Selley said: “Through more autonomy, academy status will enable us to reach out to more children with special needs. We are an outstanding school (Ofsted 2010), with excellent resources and dedicated staff who have wide expertise.

“Our aim is to provide life-enhancing educational opportunities with high expectations for special needs children across North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and beyond. We are determined, as always, to secure the very best for our pupils.”