Letter from the James bradfield Board of Governors
A response to Ron Watts' criticism of the performance of the James Bradfield School
11th January 2004
Mr R Thompson
The Village Pump
I write in response to Mr Watts open letter commenting on the Primary School League Table in respect of James Bradfield School.
Whilst all the facts were correct, and, yes, the results were disappointing, it was a shame that it was not until his last sentence that he acknowledged the hard work of the staff and children.
During the year from which these results were drawn, there were staffing difficulties which were beyond the control of the headmaster and governors and which particularly affected the year 6 pupils (the pupils upon whose results the League Table is drawn). In fact, for the final term of that year, the headmaster and his deputy taught the pupils themselves in order to give some stability to these children.
It is also important to read beyond the numbers. For example, Clackclose School achieved the same score as James Bradfield (188), however, they had 57 children eligible to take the tests, compared with 26 at James Bradfield. Thus, the impact on percentage results that the slightly under par (or indeed the opposite) performance of one pupil could have in the case of a cohort the size of James Bradfield compared with that of Clackclose must be acknowledged. The League Tables are extracted from the PANDA report, which is a bulky document unique to every school, and it is this document that really gives a 'feel' about a school in respect of its aims and achievements and the learning environment created for the pupils.
The headmaster now has a committed, settled, team in place and is getting strong support from the PTA. The headmaster and his staff have the full support of the Board of Governors and we look forward to working together to provide the pupils at James Bradfield with a broad and balanced education within a happy and stimulating environment, where every child is encouraged to develop his or her abilities to the maximum. This is not necessarily something that can be encapsulated within six sets of numbers.
Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors