What’s that coming over the hill …..

What’s that coming over the hill I wonder?

How much has happened in the past few weeks since the last update here then? – WOW!

The main news in my last update you may recall was that the Chair of Governors, Anne Boyson stepped down as Chair [although, I might add that I believe she still remains on the board, she just isn’t the Chair at present] and with that came a few questions amongst the many associated with Harrop Fold and the fiasco created by the council.  You may also recall that I stated, that my belief was there was a lot more to come and stranger things to happen …

Well, that was a strange week I must say.  And, it is getting a little stranger I believe, I don’t think it is going to stop getting stranger either….

Following the Chair stepping down it came as a surprise that one of the Governors off the panel took the decision to walk away from the panel and cited some very interesting reasons for doing so. [click on the link below to read more]

Governor at Educating Greater Manchester school quits – and he is not going quietly

Some of the quotes from the M.E.N piece state quite a lot.  For me it is more what is not said, the “reading between the lines” if you prefer …

“A well-respected governor at the controversy-hit Educating Greater Manchester school has quit and called for Salford council’s handling of the crisis to be investigated”.

Mr Smith, who has been a Governor for 10 years stated as part of his resignation that “some in the local authority of ‘having their own agenda’ and using ‘disgraceful’ tactics to undermine the governing body”.

Also in his resignation letter as reportedly seen by the M.E.N who broke the news Monday last, 5th November 2018 …  “they are only concerned with their self-interest instead of education of our young people”.

One area I did pick up on that for me, was very indicative of how I and indeed many of the parents connected with Harrop through having children at the school during these very troubling times was the following statement by Mr Smith …

“The way they [those in a position of authority] have dismissed and refused to engage with parents and representatives of the local community is unprofessional and disrespectful.”

This, I have no doubt you will appreciate, if you have been following this poorly run situation, is what we as parents have been stating quite clearly for a number of months now.  Many of my emails and concerns in general have been completely closed down by the Interim Leaders, the school in general and indeed the LEA.  I have become somewhat frustrated during this time, as have many others, as I had been including a number of Governors and the, then Chair, into my emails in the hope of getting somewhere and I felt that Governors were doing very little to support the parents and even less to help us address the issues, concerns and complaints that we all see day to day at Harrop.  Clearly, having read Mr Smith’s resignation content that was published in the M.E.N by @nealkeeling it is now very clear to see that our frustrations were very much being mirrored by his and as I stated last week and several times on Twitter, I believe they will continue to get stranger, or perhaps better put, more things will come out in the wash!  Let’s face it, it can’t be any coincidence that the Chair chooses to step down, then a Governor resigns completely, stating serious concerns as to the reason for his decision, is this now going to be a domino, are more Governors going to follow suit? If the beliefs we have all had from the beginning AND the comments made by Mr Smith are anything to go by, then surely more Governors are likely to step up and speak out?

One thing is does show is that our concerns that there was something and has been something not right about the whole affair are starting to come to fruition.

My belief has been, and for quite some time now, that there needs to be a full judicial review on this investigation.  I do not believe, based on what Drew Povey has stated in his resignation letter, based also on what Andy Smith stated in his resignation letter, which also includes by the way, the reading between the lines that one often does in situations likes this. These two resignation letters plus the rumblings of many within education, as well as those closely connected with Harrop, and there are a lot, who feel there is something sinister at hand, wholly suggest that this needs looked at with a fine toothed comb.

Since Anne Boyson stepped down as the Chair of Governors on 20th October the Vice Chair Cllr Critchley has since stepped into the breach as Acting Chair, I presume until such time that the Governing Board can vote and appoint the next Chair as a replacement.

I have a slight concern with this on the basis that, according to Harrop Fold’s website Cllr Critchley’s term of office came to an end on November 5th 2018.  My concern is that how can anyone continue to serve on the board or indeed be an Acting Chair if they have not been voted on?  I have requested under the FOI act the electronic format of any/all minutes relating to the voting on to board Cllr Critchley in the lead up to his term time coming to an end.

You will also note on the screen shot above, taken directly from the Harrop Fold website that they list a number of staff that are not currently at the school, they also have Mr Andrew Smith listed whom, as of the 5th November was no longer a serving Governor at Harrop, you may also realise that a number of staff names on there are no longer in the school for various reasons and as such are not able to attend, nor cast a vote on any school matters at present.  As stated on my Twitter account last week, it does seem to be a bit like the blind, leading the blind does it not?  Or, more like the Mad Hatters Tea Party I think It was likened to. 

Another pressing matter that has come about since my last update is that someone (I know who, as I have been informed who) has taken it upon themselves to BLOCK me from the official and only page/account of Harrop Fold High School.  Now, in the grand scheme of things this may seem somewhat trivial.  But think it about it for a moment.  There are 860 pupils currently at Harrop School today.  Let’s say that each one has at least one parent or carer, that is 860 adults, who, in this day and age have access and quite often engage in Social Media, be it Facebook, or in this case Twitter.  Let’s say that only 50% of that 860 number of parents actively engage in Twitter.  Now let’s say that of those 430 parents/carers, that actually only 50% of that number use Twitter, so we are now down to 215 parents/carers.  Of that 215 there is one person that has been blocked WITHOUT forewarning, without explanation as to why or by whom this action was taken.  I am now a statistic of 1 of 215 estimated, conservatively, number of parents/carers who has been prevented from engaging with the school and with other parents about the good and the great of what Harrop Fold brings to its pupils and the wider community. 

When do you think I was blocked?

I was blocked on the morning of the 1st November 2018.  I know it was this date because that is the date I started seeing posts on my Twitter timeline such as ….

“This Tweet is unavailable”.  The day these started to occur were also quite significant in that it just happened to be the day that I went into Harrop Fold School at 07:30 to wait for and meet with the lead HMI Ofsted Inspector to provide to him an overview of my concerns.  Concerns also shared by 25% of all Harrop Fold parents backed up with hard copies of emails of complaints and a dossier of parent concerns totalling 175 A4 pages.

No heads up, no phone call, no email explanation, just a full blown BLOCK from seeing anything at all on the Harrop Fold Twitter account.  It doesn’t take much to put two and two together and realise that someone was clearly upset that I had dared to arrive at school with various bits of evidence to demonstrate to Ofsted and having had a telephone conversation with another Ofsted Inspector the day before they were looking to redress that by yet again, similar to a number of emails from the Council, the, then Chair of Governors (although to be fair I am not convinced the emails came from the then Chair, I think they had come from another person with the school, or possibly council just portraying to come from the Chair) stating that the door is firmly closed and we are no longer engaging with you. So much for freedom of speech eh?

“You are blocked from following @HarropFold and viewing @HarropFold’s Tweets.”

So, all of this time we have been asking, emailing, pleading to have engagement with the school, the council, the Interim Leaders so that we can help support and understand what the issues are and in some try and navigate a way through the quagmire to reach a place that is suitable for all Harrop kids to learn in a safe and secure environment and to get us to a place where all parents, including myself can be assured that our children are not being bullied, sold drugs, or indeed attacked in classrooms.  And the Leadership answer at Harrop School today is what?  Block people from engaging.  Slam the door shut with no other place to go. Not conducive to working together is it?  Not really displaying the values that were once solid within the four walls of Harrop where #TeamHarrop once stood for all things collaborative and inclusive is it?

I just wonder what makes these people tick, I really do.  I wonder what goes through their minds when they make such detrimental decisions that affects other people.

Interestingly, when I recently attended the Open Evening at Harrop, you know the one, I have spoken about it in a previous post whereby the Interim Head opened up the school to many prospective parents of primary school children whom he and Salford Council were hoping they could showcase the greatness about Harrop and all the things it does so well.  the one where the glossy colourful booklet that welcomed all of these excitable parents and children to Harrop falsely gave the impression that Drew Povey was still at the helm. The booklet that had an open inviting and warm statement in it about how he is proud to introduce a great school to them and share with them what Harrop is about.  Remember of course that evenings like this are paramount to all schools, they are important for the LA and the Heads to ensure that they sell the dream and encourage parents to bring their children when they are ready to leave Junior school and start Secondary.  Because without them schools lose out on funding and without funding the schools find it difficult to operate.

This was also, by the way, the same Open Evening whereby a fellow parent representative and I went along, having had our first meeting with the Interim Head, Council and Governors, to hopefully help allay any concerns and fears that these new parents might have about the school.  To genuinely offer guidance, support and assurances that the Interim Leadership team and parents were working diligently together to iron out some of the current concerns and issues that had cropped up following the suspension of staff.  We were genuinely there to support and offer our balanced and supportive view on where the school was heading at that point.  Because at that point, we did feel, following the meeting only a week or so previously, that the school was working trough its troubles. 

Sadly, this is no longer the case as you have read above and elsewhere in my blog.  The Interim Head stood at that same Open Evening showing images of his own child stating that he wants and expects every child at Harrop to be treated fairly and with respect the same way as he expects his lad to be treated.  Well, blocking a parent from the social media and engagement isn’t exactly treating others as you expect yourself or indeed your child to be treated is it? 

Let’s see where the following few weeks brings us to.  I have written to the Acting Chair Cllr Critchley for an explanation of why I was blocked, he has responded by stating that …

“some of your comments about the school were overtly hostile, raising allegations that caused members of our staff team upset and distress.” 

As you would perhaps expect, I have replied stating that I find his response to be somewhat devoid of evidence and would he kindly provide me with such evidence so that I can a) understand precisely what has caused upset and distress so as to ensure I do not cause further upset and stress, after all, I have never set out at any time in all of this façade to do such a thing and b) please advise who it is I have caused upset and distress to so I can personally apologise for my actions should it be warranted.

Let me sign off by just providing you with some snippet quotes from a recently resigned Governor of Harrop.  I don’t think we have heard the last from him yet ….

“Having their own agenda’ and using ‘disgraceful’ tactics to undermine the governing body”

“They are only concerned with their self-interest instead of education of our young people”

“The events of the last four months have however become deeply troubling”

“I am strongly of the opinion that Salford local authority and those representing it have their own agendas and have demonstrated a complete lack of respect or support for the Governors by refusing to engage with them for the good of the school and the wider community”

“I believe they are only concerned with their own self-interest instead of the safety, development and education of our young people”

“I also believe the Governing Board has been unable to function effectively over the past four months due to the outdated and inflexible processes adopted by the local authority. These are the same processes used nationally – it’s time that they were reviewed and updated”

“Although I can’t reveal the details at this time, some of the tactics used to undermine me and my colleagues have been disgraceful”

The above quote and image comes from the website brainyquote.com