Parents divided over primary school federationBy Mike Pyle
May 30, 2012
Parents at two Tilehurst primary schools which plan to form a federation are split over fears one will be dragged down.
Park Lane Primary School in School Road and Moorlands Primary School in Church End Lane would share Park Lane headteacher Nicola Browne, who has been acting head at both schools since the start of the school year after Moorlands head Sudhana Singh was signed-off with stress and later resigned.
At a meeting for Park Lane parents last Thursday, many raised concerns about their school getting ‘drawn into another school’s problems’, while mums and dads at Moorlands who gathered on Monday night said they would be glad of the stability.
Each school would have a permanent head of school supported by deputy heads, with Mrs Browne serving as executive headteacher.
Mrs Browne told the Park Lane meeting the plans would make “no difference” to day-to-day life at either school, adding: “This is not an amalgamation. The only person working across both schools will be me and that’s the same as I’ve done this year.
“Will schools lose their identity? The answer is no. They will keep their names, their identities, their uniforms and everyone that works at Park Lane will remain contracted to Park Lane.”
But Mike Wall, chairman of governors, said: “We may look like we want this to happen and it’s because we see advantages, but we’re not sold on it. From my point of view, my daughter came to Park Lane School 30 years ago – I love this school so I do have its best interests at heart.”
Many parents fear the move would be detrimental to Park Lane.
One mum said: “I’m supportive of a good school helping struggling ones, but I don’t want to see Park Lane getting drawn into Moorlands’ problems.”
At the Moorlands meeting, one mum, who has two children at the school and hopes to have another join next year, said: “I just want some stability for the staff, for the pupils, for the parents. It feels like we’ve been on a rollercoaster for far too long and there has been stability over the last year.
“Things have been calmer and I want that to carry on.”
Another said: “Since you’ve [Mrs Browne] come on board I have seen an absolute improvement in this school and if this is what you have done then I’m quite happy for it to carry on.”
On why she wanted to take on the role of executive headteacher, Mrs Browne said she had an “emotional attachment to Moorlands and the children” and she was “committed to raising standards”.
She added: “I expect to be the public face – you will see me on the school gates, you will see me at the disco. I am going to do this hands-on.”
The six-week consultation ends on July 8. The schools’ governing bodies will discuss the feedback before meeting separately to make their decisions. Letters will be sent to parents the week beginning Monday, July 16, revealing the decision.
If the schools do federate it will not become official until after Christmas.