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Excellent news today that Beckenham girls school Cator Park has revealed it intends to become an academy, with Harris its possible priority as it already has ties with the education specialist. Reports in the NewsShopper today (which i'l edit in here once back on pc - as I'm writing this on the train on my phone) suggest that the Head of Cator Park has written to Bromley Council with her and the school's governors intentions to hold a public consultation and move forward as quickly as possible.

When we attended their open day a month or so a go, the Head left an open question in the air as to what parents thought about Harris involvement and academies and I was very impressed with how she has turned Cator round and sees the big picture and that funding and ethos of academies like Harris can transform not only schools, but parents attitude and desires to make a school the best and their first choice on the CAF form.

So while Kelsey Park Sports College drags its feet, Bromley Council collude with other Bromley borough schools to try and maintain a status quo, that keeps them happy, but not thousands of Beckenham parents who so need top performing schools in their part of the borough, Cator Park School for Girls has been brave and bold. I wish them well and hope Harris is chosen and it's all done and dusted in less than a year. It was not our first choice, but it is our closest school. If it was a Harris Academy that would change.

More details to follow...

Tags: academy, beckenham, bromley, cator park, council, education, girls, harris, newsshopper, school

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Thanks for posting the link James. Yes I guess it is a worst kept secret, but just a pity they didn't do this before the latest CAF forms had to be filled in. Perhaps Cator & Kelsey are talking behind doors about both going co-ed and then this part of Beckenham would have something so many parents want and it would be a boon to all in the local area including estate agents and even families without children as they see property prices increase on the back of it. No need to move to Langley catchment area or pay for private education, some parity at last we all hope, and therefore a better neighbourhood as families settle and stay and grow better ties in the community, instead of all the short term moves parents have had to do for years.
Hi,
with a daughter at Cator Park, I recieved a letter stating that before anything was decided, it was going to hold a full consultaion with the parents etc, they have said they are looking into all options, nothing is set in stone. I shall be sad to see it a co-Ed, as wanted an all girls school for my daughter, and alot of parents feel the same, from a meeting we had last week at the school. Kelsey have to finish their consultaion before anything else, the results of which will be in the new year, they are doing all they can at the moment, and am sure that the right choice will be made for the college.
Thanks for the update Sophie. I guess without a local co-ed in the borough there are a great number of parents who would wish that, especially those with boys and girls in their family. But, as ever someone will be pleased and others not.

Andy the dragging of its heels comments is made because Kelsey could if they had wished or the Council depending on whom you wish to lay this at their door and they'd let you could have been quicker to sort all this out over the years and it's taken a body of parents to bring this all out in the open and to ahead.

Everyone has a difference of opinion as I said above in the first paragraph. As parents we all want what's best for our own children first, that's the usual and acceptable.
Jon

as the moderator of this site surely you have a duty to be neutral in these debates. That doesn't seem to be the case. The headline you've posted for this forum is misleading. The school has "expressed interest" it has not applied to become an academy. As part of the process a consultation with interested parties is a legal requirement.

As Andy says, why is it when KPSC have a consultation (which has no specified outcome as its aim and allows all possibilities) they are "dragging their feet" whereas if Cator have a consultation they are "brave and bold".

What does the letter say? the news article says governors are giving "serious consideration" to the Harris federation, as they should do with any proposal. Does the letter to parents specifically say Harris is their priority? If it doesn't then you are putting words into the mouth of the Head and if it does then isn't the Head prejudicing a fair consultation? Do you have inside knowledge?
Hi William, I agree on one point and disagree on another, which is the right for everyone here who likes to dicuss what's going on. First the headline is a tad misleading and I'll bring in the 'expressed interest' part to it. Put that down to a chance to write on a PC and have time to take in what was reported early doors this morning and now get something better up on the site.

As to whether being the moderator or owner of this site I should therefore remain neutral on all things I disagree. But I disagree on the point that I, like anyone else, can start and have an opinion on anything I like or are interested in on this site. I'm neither spokesperson for anyone, nor in league, just an independent offering a community board for discussion, news, information and events. It's free to users, and free speech will always be upheld.

If there was a thread on here about which football team one supported or the best type of video game or indeed music I'd be just as interested and start or join in with the banter and give my honest views as would be expected. I'm sure there would be plenty of Palace, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Man U, Millwall, Charlton, PS3, RnB, Soul, Rock, Thrash Metal etc fans who would not share my support and views on West Ham, Xbox, Hardcore Trance Dance Music, Punk & SKA

C'est la vie
William,

You say Jon should be neutral on these debates, why? This isn't a council finded site, Jon is a parent and an active member of the site, why shouldn't he have a say?

When you say neutral, do you mean neutral like the head of Kelsey stating, in the national press during the consultation period, his dislike of Harris? As the head and a governor he does have a duty to be neutral. When that happened, I didn't see any posts from you saying that was wrong, or do you have inside knowledge?

John.
Hi everyone.

The letter that the Head and Governors of Cator Park girls school sent out to parents is on their web site. I thought it was worth posting on here.

Quote: "Additionally, we have been invited by the Harris Federation to consider joining their group of schools, reflecting the excellent progress the school has made and continues to make and our long standing good relationship with our specialist sponsor, Lord Harris, as a Harris Centre of Excellence."

This is the link to the letter: http://www.catorpark.bromley.sch.uk/content/archives/2005-6/letters...

Fiona

Definately worth watching this space. What most parents want in this area is a good co-ed school. Boys and girls do not need to be seperated, its not setting them up for properly for how life really is.

Fiona Murphy said:
Hi everyone.

The letter that the Head and Governors of Cator Park girls school sent out to parents is on their web site. I thought it was worth posting on here.

Quote: "Additionally, we have been invited by the Harris Federation to consider joining their group of schools, reflecting the excellent progress the school has made and continues to make and our long standing good relationship with our specialist sponsor, Lord Harris, as a Harris Centre of Excellence."

This is the link to the letter: http://www.catorpark.bromley.sch.uk/content/archives/2005-6/letters...

Fiona
Lets get some straight talking because some of these comments are pure nonsense. The Head of Cator is interested in getting Harris on board because she knows how good they are. Of course she will fully consult the parents - that is her duty as the Head. But she made the decision to investigate the possibility along with her team which she has to be commended for. Kelsey were prepared to do nothing. It wasn't until they received their notice to improve from Ofsted that they realised something had to be done. And even then they only implemented satisfactory changes (as per the visit in June),

It has taken an amazing group of parents to finally show to the public what is actually happening at Kelsey. Good for them - they have my upmost thanks for this. If it was not for them, do not be under any impression that this consultation would be taking place. That is down to them and the 1000 parents who signed the petition - not Kelsey. So yes, Kelsey have been dragging their feet, It is sheer and utter nonsense to suggest otherwise.

Well done Cator Park for being proactive and seeing what a great asset Harris could be. Its such a pity that the the council feel they have to maintain the status quo and resist a conversion at Kelsey. And don't be fooled into thinking the consultation will do anything. As the Heads of Hayes and Beaverwood have suggested that all Bromley schools convert to Academies to keep Kelsey very much in the framework of Bromley schools, it is highly unlikely that a Harris conversion will ever take place - irrespective of the consultation results. Well done Bromley!
I do have a son and daughter and wanted single sex schools for both. x


Jon Clarke said:
Thanks for the update Sophie. I guess without a local co-ed in the borough there are a great number of parents who would wish that, especially those with boys and girls in their family. But, as ever someone will be pleased and others not.

Andy the dragging of its heels comments is made because Kelsey could if they had wished or the Council depending on whom you wish to lay this at their door and they'd let you could have been quicker to sort all this out over the years and it's taken a body of parents to bring this all out in the open and to ahead.

Everyone has a difference of opinion as I said above in the first paragraph. As parents we all want what's best for our own children first, that's the usual and acceptable.
Ross,

Firstly, the letter states that Cator Park has been ‘invited’ by the Harris Federation to join them. Although I agree that they should fully investigate the potential benefits for the school, I don’t see considering an invitation as particularly pro-active, as you have said. I would also suggest that their own movements towards academy status are the result of the government white paper and Bromley document we saw earlier in the week. This means, I would think, that the majority of schools in the borough will be considering conversion and be sending out similar letters in the coming weeks and months. This is not intended as a criticism of Cator Park in any way – I have made my opinions of the coalition’s view of education quite clear and would rather they were not put in this position at all (which is, incidentally, not the same as being happy with the status quo and wishing that ‘underperforming’ schools be left unsupported) – but again, I do not think that it can be claimed as the school was being pro-active. I believe that you have given their letter such a positive spin so as to be yet another stick with which to beat KPSC.

Secondly, whilst you are clearly unhappy with KPSC’s classification of ‘satisfactory’ in their interim assessment from Ofsted, you may remember that Cllr Getgood explained that it is only possible to achieve ‘satisfactory’, at best, in such an appraisal.

Lastly, I do wish that people would stop trying to discredit the consultation, perhaps just because there is a chance that it might not go ‘their’ way. I believe that, in doing so, you are discouraging the community from making their voice heard and, as such, you are threatening one of the demands of the original campaign.
Kirsten,

I just wanted to answer one of your points about the KSPC inspections (which I realise should be on the other forum). The satisfactory status Cllr Getgood described, is when a school has a full inspection following a notice to improve. An interim visit can be ascribed 1 of 4 categories:

" Inspectors are required to evaluate the school’s progress in dealing with the areas for improvement identified by the last section 5 inspection, and in improving outcomes for pupils. Judgements are made on the four-point scale: 1 is outstanding; 2 is good; 3 is satisfactory; 4 is inadequate. Where the areas for improvement include specific timescales, inspectors should use professional judgement when evaluating the school’s overall rate of progress. Progress should not necessarily be judged inadequate simply because a challenging deadline has not been met." (I've attached the ofsted document)

Satisfactory is not the norm on a monitoring visit. With all the help KSPC have got you would expect
much better.

Hope that helps.

John.
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