Wednesday, 18 November 2009


So it’s a bit depressing at our school right now. If we could get away with it, we’d all be wearing black armbands and walking around humming the Funeral March – because we’ve (and that’s a County-wide We’ve) lost our very valiant battle to retain our Three-Tier Status. And we’re a Middle School. So put simply we’re doomed. No longer required or deemed necessary.
In a nutshell-y type way it means that after decades of having Lower, Middle and Upper schools in Bedfordshire (along with the Isle of Wight and Harrow- maybe Leicester) we’re finally going to be stripped of our three-tier position and asked to fall in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

Oh, and according to Wikipedia, Gibraltar also follows a similar structure. I mean – ‘nuff said! We all know how the grades are going in Gibraltar, right?!

At the local council’s Monday night meeting to decide the fate of our future, the voting was apparently 17 for retaining the current Three-Tier system and 19 in favour of abolishing it for Two-Tier. If that one elusive councillor had swayed just that little bit more, then the Mayor had Simon Cowell waiting outside in a black Mariah to referee  a Deadlock situation.

(He didn't really but I bet the Twins would still have somehow got through)

So what does all this mean?

Upheaval on a most major scale for any children due to start Middle School during the changeover (starting 2012) with building work and temporary classrooms and all kinds of incredibly inconvenient stuff happening whilst the whole thing is sorted out.

Re-training for all Middle School teachers so that they’re equipped and refreshed on either Lower or Upper school teaching methods and a lot of lost jobs.

It’s a pain. It sounds like a nightmare. It feels like it’s such a waste of a perfectly adequate system and because our school was given an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report 2 years ago, it kinda hurts all the more. It must make those teachers who’ve been at our school for 20 or more years, feel incredibly deflated.

But it’s a challenge. Isn’t it?

And we didn’t give up without a fight, did we?

Personally, although I know it will never be the same again, I did always think that kids who go to Upper School from Middle and are only there a matter of months before they HAVE to decide on their GCSE choices, was all a bit too much to ask. I think having them change to Upper school at aged 11 instead of aged 13 gives them a far better breathing space in which to grow and relax into the idea of subject choices before they start to panic and wonder what to do because they haven’t been allowed enough time in their new environment. I know I panicked at just this time. And it’s a crucial time in a child’s education.

So if I want to whistle a different tune whilst I’m at work right now, then I’ll have to give it a little more time for realisation to take hold and for everyone to get used to the idea of future changes.

Because nobody passes an Hors D’Oeuvre to the cheery person at a wake, right?

Doughnuts - now that’s a different matter.

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