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Statement re: Oldknow Academy

The situation with Oldknow Academy is different in the detail to that with Golden Hillock. There remains, however, the more general problem of tarring everyone (particularly Muslims) with the same brush.

It is not unusual for there to be a falling out between the Head of a school and the Chair of Governors. This has happened in Oldknow Academy. Also there have been things that have gone on that I do not think are right. In particular the celebration of religions other than Islam were downgraded by the school (referred to publicly as the cancellation of Christmas).

As I said with Golden Hillock: "To me it is very important that there are no secrets in any UK schools. Schools also need to provide a broad British education."

What did happen with Oldknow Academy is that a number of parents, all of whom are Muslim, were complaining about the curriculum being narrowed and the school offering a less than broad education. I do think they have a point that needs to be looked at. It is, however, important to note that at least one of those parents has now been appointed to the Governing Body. Hence it is obvious to any independent observer that you should not consider the Governing Body in any homogenous manner.

Although I do know about the details of the dispute between the Head and the Chair of Governors I am not going to comment about this. That is because the dispute still needs to be resolved and me commenting would not assist with resolving this.

To me one of the ways forward for the school would involve the return of the head to being in day to day control of the school. I have tried to mediate to acheive this, but have sadly not made any progress with this.

I do have a criticism of the Governing Body in that I did ask a question about a particular presentation at the school Assembly, but they have not as yet answered the question. The criticisms of the parents also need to be responded to in a formal manner.

Russell Hobby of the National Association of Head Teachers said recently:
“This confusion makes it quite clear to us that we lack an appropriate mechanism for dealing with such allegations."

I agree with him that the mechanism has not been good for dealing with the allegations. It remains to be seen what the other enquiries come up with. In the end it is the children that need to be our priority.

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