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Carlisle academy school staff too scared to speak out, claims union

Staff are too afraid to speak out about the situation at a failing Carlisle academy for fear of being sacked, a union has claimed.

Jackie Franklin photo
Jackie Franklin

Richard Rose Central Academy was put back in special measures for the second time last week, sparking outrage from staff, parents and pupils.

Jackie Franklin, education convenor for Unison, said she was “sickened and saddened” by the whole situation, claiming staff concerns had long been ignored.

“When I look back at the arguments we raised when staff were being made redundant and the attendance team and in-class support were being done away with,” she said, “we told the managers that behaviour would get worse [and] attendance would get worse.

“Management thought they knew best but clearly they didn’t.”

Ms Franklin added: “If you want a place at the academy as an employee [you have to] put up and shut up – be loyal to the managers.”

A Year 13 student backed the support for staff, claiming he was “shocked” the academy had been put back in special measures.

James Boothroyd, 17, from Welton, said: “I thought things had improved, and that there was no way we would go back. However, I’m in sixth form and so I don’t see all the little terrors running around.

“I’m aware that some of the year groups aren’t as well-behaved as they used to be, but I thought that was a sign of the times.”

While James is keen to praise the work done with his school, he too admits that errors were made at the very beginning.

“I think the school has failed not because of the staff or because of anything that has been done, but because of the system and how it was done.

“It wasn’t thought through or planned as well as it could have been done, and as a result everything is starting to crumble a bit.”

The city’s MP, John Stevenson, has now said he believes the only way the central academy can cement a solid future is to become part of a “wider federation of academies”.

“It is for the management to look at what has gone wrong and what they can do to improve the school,” he said, “but a clear solution emerging is possibly that they become part of a wider federation of academies.

“This would bring in additional management support and expertise. If you’re part of a larger organisation it allows for movement of teachers around as well as the exchange of expertise and gives greater flexibility.”

His comments have already been challenged by former Carlisle MP Eric Martlew, who said far greater thought needed to be put into the issue.

“Basically John needs to talk to the education minister to see what is the best way forward,” he said.

“We need to be very careful how we proceed. This might be the answer, but we need to talk to the minister.”

Mr Martlew recalled how when the academy was put in special measures the first time, he “got the minister for education to come up” to Carlisle and have a meeting.

Have your say

Why are people still choosing to send their children to the Richard Rose schools? Did you see the GCSE results for A*-C it was only 31% that's failing all these children. Trinity only got 35% but the little Catholic school, Newman got an amazing 63% with 90% of kids getting A*-C. That's so much over the national average. The council and news should be shouting their praise. Well done Newman, showing that Cumbrian schools can do it.

Posted by Emma on 18 September 2013 at 07:45

There seems to be a gross inaccuracy within these pages about the about the predeccessor school : ST AIDANS WAS NEVER IN SPECIAL MEASURES ,read its ofsted reports if they still exist, the publicity campaing for RRF hinted that the performance of both predecessor school was low - false - they never stated it directly because they couldnt prove it and would have faced dozens of Law suits, as for NCTC, the then Head Mark Yearsley had moved there form solway and brought the school out of special measures long before the merger.Pity he left , but Peter Noble had tied his hands!! preventing him exercising his expertise and good judgement. if your going to Comment GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT.

Posted by Montague West on 22 May 2013 at 17:44

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