Feelings among teachers and parents continue to heighten and opinion is divided over comments made last week by Bradley Simmons, Ofsted’s regional director for the South East, in a letter to Swindon Borough Council regarding school quality, the BBC reports.
Parents reacted strongly to Mr Simmons comments, which called for immediate action to improve the schools in the town, which he said were “cause for serious concern.” He also said that children in Swindon were being failed at “every level” by the education on offer in the town.
Parents and teachers alike have aired their views publicly since the row erupted last week.
Christel Stevens, whose son attended Reception year in Swindon, said she and her husband were teachers in other boroughs and had just transferred their son out of a primary school in Swindon to one elsewhere in Wiltshire after a “poor experience.”
“He is thriving now, despite Reception year being wasted.”
Another parent, James Garfield, agreed with the Ofsted assessment, labeling one senior school as an “utter disgrace”.
“When challenged as to why the school did not set homework, I was informed that the teacher in question did not have homework when he was at school and he did all right – hardly the point.
I believe the reason the schools in north Swindon in particular are so bad is that the head teachers are prepared to play social experiments with our children, such as the no-homework policy.”
However, other Swindon parents disagreed. Sarah-Kate Tonkin, who has children at primary and secondary schools in Swindon, said:
“If you want to talk about measurable academic achievements, one of my older children has been in national finals for maths and STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths] this year. That is not a sign of failing pupils as far as I can see.”
Mrs Tonkin said one of her daughters had gone to a primary school that had transformed her from a shy child to one who could stand up make a speech or perform at an audition, commenting:
“This primary school, which my youngest still attends, has taught them all the values of kindness, resilience, leadership – they are the skills that will take them on in life. I am proud of my kids – but they are who they are partly because of the teachers that they encounter every day.”
Mike Welsh, who is a primary school head teacher in Swindon, challenged Mr Simmons “to come and see how well our primary school children are being taught.” Mr Welsh, who has been a head teacher for 30 years, said:
“We do not have our heads in the sand and appreciate, as do all schools, that we are in a constant state of improvement. “Do not run our children down, as they have worked very hard.
In Swindon primaries, we have excellent leadership, teachers and support staff who dedicate themselves to high quality teaching.”