Last ditch effort to save Raine’s

The school needs a

  • fresh approach, a board of positive governors who leave no stone unturned to get the school back on its feed.
  • A maverick headteacher who wants to save the school and breathes new life into the school
  • An inventive new focus on specialisation in subjects like sport or others to be determined
  • A focus on the green location of the school with good access to the nearby Victoria Park
  • A quality school run by the Church of England for the Community.

Mr Alan Parker, who chairs the Steering Group, which is occupied mainly with amalgamating Raine’s pupils into Oaklands, should Raine’s close is not as independent as it seems.

Mr Alan Parker is a Consultant and Council member of the New Visions for Education Group, which is chaired by Alasdair MacDonald.

Sir Alasdair McDonald is also Board member at Drum Works, who work with pupils of Raine’s Foundation school and his profile there says:

“He was headteacher of Morpeth school and during that period, attainment at the school rose significantly and Ofsted inspections in both 2007 and 2013 rated Morpeth as Outstanding. He “was achieving against the odds”.

Sir MacDonald does not want to allow Raine’s to try the same miraculous improvement and delivered a Feasability study on 1. April 2019, which he recommends the school (Raine’s) should be earmarked for closure on 31. August 2020. .

Because that is Sir Alasdair Macdonald’s view, he should not have become an IEB board member because he was pre-judgemental in all his activity during his time as Interim Executive Board member.

The board should have been staffed with neutral members who had an open mind as to the future of Raine’s and not with significant persons who – from the outset – saw no future for the school but closure like Sir Alasdair MacDonald.

I think this was an erroneous decision by the Department of Education to appoint Sir Alasdair to the post and then instal Alan Parker as chair of the Steering Group, when Alan Parker has already gotten a fairly close working interest and relationship with Alasdair MacDonald.

I do not wish to retract in any way from both as teachers, I am sure they are excellent at that. Both Alan Parker and Sir Alasdair McDonald have very distinguished careers. However from the view of a parent who wants to keep Raine’s open as a local school, I must emphasize that I cannot be wholly positive about the appointments.  I know Mr McDonald personally when he worked as headmaster at Morpeth school and also find Mr Parker pleasant to work with on the Steering Group. This article is not a personal attack on either of those two gentlemen.

Whilst of course somebody who supports the closure of Raine’s would be very proud to have such distinguished persons overseeing the process.

There are ways to try and save Raine’s with a maverick headteacher who believes in the school just like Alasdair MacDonald believed in Morpeth when he started there in 1991.

I am certain that a well qualified, positive headteacher could attract parents to enrol their children in Raine’s and together with specialising in some subjects – as Raine’s already spearheads sport as a special subject – and with the great location of the school it would be easy to market the school and turn it around. Certainly there would be no shortage of publicity with the East London Advertiser reporter Mike Brooke has himself been a pupil at Raine’s Foundation.

I completely agree with the aims of the New Visions for Education Group as it is stated within their website, but I cannot agree that the closure of Raine’s school is the only solution of the problem that occurred with Raine’s.

It had been said by Christine McInnes during the Cabinet meeting on 30. October 2019, that the board of governors failed to follow recommendations in 2016. But because of that, to close down a school is unfair on the community and the children.

I really hope people will attend the next consultation meeting.

The meeting will be held from 5:30 – 7:30pm at the Professional Development Centre, 229 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6AB. From Monday 4th November more information can be found at: https://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/council_and_democracy/consultations/Proposal-to-close-Raines-Foundation-School.aspx

It would definitely be interesting to get the view of all the parents involved to be able to get a better picture of what parents actually want. There is quite a lot of opposition to the closure of Raine’s as the publicity trail shows.

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  1. Trackback: Researching school governance | The last cherry

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