On Thursday 12th December 2013, a letter from former Conservative candidate Derek Brooks was printed in the Bury Times in relation to the protest again Elton Primary School being forced into Academy status.
This is Derek’s letter:
As a grandparent, dropping off and collecting some of my older grandchildren once a week at school, it truly breaks my heart to see pictures in the Bury Times (December 5) of bewildered young pupils, outside Elton Primary School, holding protest placards.
Shame on you parents! While all this behaviour is tragic to see, the neutral public are entitled to ask “where were the protests to governors when Elton was beginning to fail?”, and “why wasn’t something done then”?
Perhaps the answers lie in the very telling quotes from parents and pupils at Elton over the past few weeks, where certain words paint a picture of the school: it is one where pupils feel “happy” and where it’s “fun”. Parents also added that their child “didn’t like change” (regarding the new academy status), so I really do fear for that child when high school comes around.
Surely a school is not meant to be an extension of nursery, for older children. It should, unequivocally, be a centre of learning, where pupils go, not thinking what fun are we going to have today, but feel slightly on edge, with an adrenalin rush about what they will learn next and how the jigsaw puzzle of life will start to come together.
Today, Thursday 19th December 2013, the Bury Times printed my response to Derek:
I am absolutely appalled to read Derek Brooks’ letter regarding the protest to save Elton Primary School from being forced into Academy status.
How dare Derek say “Shame on you parents!” for letting their children stand up for their school? These parents and their children want their school to stay a community school and their passion was evident on 2nd December, which he would’ve seen if he’d bothered to turn up himself.
Derek has criticised children for saying that their school is a fun and happy place to learn. This is exactly what a school should be. Children should find learning an enjoyable experience and a school that provides that is a good school.
Our education system cannot improve without improvement in teaching. Changing a school into an Academy will not solve this issue, especially as they are then free to employ unqualified teachers. The Academies Act 2010 is a nasty piece of legislation that lets Michael Gove’s warped views on education be imposed without even being put to a parliamentary vote. Gove is single handedly ruining our country’s education.
It will be a very sad day for democracy if Gove and the DfE get their way with forcing Elton into Academy status. They will have gone against the wishes of the school governors, teachers, parents, children and the community in making a school ultimately motivated by increasing profit rather than improving education.
Our own MP has decided to toe the party line and not have the common decency to consult with the parents or the school regarding these proposal. Perhaps Derek would have that common decency to go and speak to members of the Save Elton Primary School campaign, the school or any of the 803 people who have so far signed a petition on Change.org and understand exactly why they are against these proposals, rather than blast them for holding a peaceful protest against them.