Sunday 15 November 2009

Hove Park School - the new blackboard jungle?

Last week, there was a distressing incident in which a boy was stabbed by another boy at Hove Park School, which my own child attends.

I do not claim to know all of the circumstances of this incident - I expect all of those to come out in the investigation which will follow.

What I do want to comment on is how this incident has been seized upon by the local media to sensationalise the incident and to try to paint this school as some den of iniquity. The Argus has also implicitly attacked the management of the school as having failed to act appropriately, as having not treated the incident seriously, and as trying to sweep it under the carpet. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.

The school suspended the alleged perpetrator, called the police and, remarkably, printed a letter which was taken home by every pupil on the very day of the incident in order that parents would know what had happened and that the safety of nearly all the other pupils was in no way compromised. So much for "sweeping it under the carpet". Of course, this measure was not good enough for one parent, who bemoaned "having to find out about it through a letter", though his suggestions as to what the school could have done to get the information to all parents that quickly is not recorded.

Another implied sin according to the Argus was that, horror of horrors, lessons carried on normally while this happened. Again no indication is forthcoming as to what would have been a sensible alternative course of action

Of course, the Argus could also not resist throwing in another mention of HPS's exam results (which they had covered previously), to complete the exercise in dog-whistle politics.

So far, so predictable. What is worse is that a local councillor, Amy Kennedy, has decided to go along with the wave of hysteria, and in fact has helped to make it worse. So far we've had Cllr Kennedy saying that the school should be put into special measures (huh??), unfounded claims that behaviour problems are not dealt with at the school, and wild comparisons to The Bronx!
(Such a comparison is of course soooh last century...the correct point of overblown comparison from the US is of course Baltimore, in these post-Wire days.)

Would it be too much to expect that the school should get some support and acknowledgement for the steps it is taking, rather than being undermined at every turn by people who seem determined to label it a failing school?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i go to hove park , it was fabric sissors and it wasnt anything serious :P