School head appointment: parents entitled to an explanation
Your story about the appointment of a new head teacher at Christ Church Primary School in Hampstead reflected some of the frustration felt by many parents at the high-handed approach of the school s governors – but did not properly explain the reasons for
Your story about the appointment of a new head teacher at Christ Church Primary School in Hampstead reflected some of the frustration felt by many parents at the high-handed approach of the school's governors - but did not properly explain the reasons for that frustration (Anger as deputy head is turned down, H&H April 5).
Many of us believe that there was, and is, an outstanding candidate within the school. That candidate has served the school and its children with an unstinting commitment way beyond the call of duty, dedicating a huge chunk of his working life to helping to transform what was frankly a failing school into one of the best primaries in Camden.
He is much-loved by parents and children, a fantastic teacher, and it seems perverse that he should not be rewarded for the many years of effort he has put in.
Geoffrey Palmer, chairman of the school's governors, manages to be both insulting and condescending to those parents who want to question the governors' decision.
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He describes our reaction as 'extreme', an adjective used with depressing regularity by those in authority to denigrate those whose views happens to differ from decision-makers'. Is it really extreme to seek transparency in the appointments process? Or to expect some degree of fairness?
I know that at least two governors have privately expressed disquiet about the selection process. Dozens of parents signed a petition calling for a proper explanation of the process, carried out in a single day. At an emergency meeting held by the parents' association, speaker after speaker cast doubt about the decision - and the questionable manner in which it was arrived at.
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Mr Palmer may describe all of this as extreme - yet aren't all parents expected and encouraged to participate in every aspect of school life? It is surely fundamental that part of that involvement would include the chance for us to express our views on the handling of such a key appointment - which will have inevitably huge implications for the future of the school.
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