Parents have their say after Letchworth school placed on special measures

PARENTS of children who attend a Letchworth GC school which has been placed on special measures by Ofsted voiced their concerns at a heated meeting last night (Tuesday).

The headteacher of Fearnhill School, Jed Whelan, addressed a packed school hall following the publication of Ofsted’s report last week which said the school in Icknield Way is “failing to give its students an acceptable standard of education”.

After explaining the report’s findings, Mr Whelan and Kate Smith, head of secondary school effectiveness for Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), answered questions from the floor.

A number of parents spoke of the lack of homework set for their children, and in some cases said it had not been marked for months.

Others criticised the high turnover of teachers in some departments and called for failing teachers to be replaced.

Many parents asked Mr Whelan why inadequacies had not been addressed before Ofsted’s inspection and said when concerns were raised by them they were not acted upon.

The validity of the Ofsted report was also questioned, with one mother doubting its accuracy because of the number of lessons – 45 – that the five inspectors witnessed over the two day inspection.

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There was also a call from some parents to get behind the school and that they themselves must play their part to bring about improvements.

During the meeting Mr Whelan said the school was “not in denial” over the report and that “inconsistencies” would be quickly addressed, with an initial focus on improving standards in the sixth form and Year 11, with the intention of a “knock-on effect” for the other year groups.

Speaking to The Comet today (Wednesday), Mr Whelan said: “Hopefully what came across is the commitment of everyone associated with the school to get this right to ensure students receive the dedication, support and guidance that they need to achieve their potential.”

During the meeting it was also announced that Naomi Rose has been seconded by HCC as a deputy headteacher to help oversee teaching and learning practice, while Cllr Terry Hone from North Herts District Council has joined the board of governors.

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