What Can You Do When Change Is Forced On You?

by | 21 Nov 2016 | Change

I made my daughters proud last week, which in turn makes me feel proud!

Their school has been forced into special measures and is being very quickly taken over by a Multi Academy Trust.

This has made me very angry, because whatever the Ofsted report may say, it is a good school, full of talented and inspiring teachers who care passionately about the children. It offers a full range of experiences and that has encouraged my kids to grow into independent, critical thinkers and responsible young adults.

My kids have done well at the school with no additional input whatsoever from external tutors. My eldest, who is sitting A-levels this year achieved 7 A*s and 5 As at GCSE, my middle daughter is sitting GCSEs this year and is on track for something very similar.

They are proud of the school community and sense of identity that is fostered there.

Now, within less than 2 weeks, their uniform will have gone, their House and tutoring system will have been dismantled and the school will have been assimilated into the Academy trust. An off-the-shelf model of policies and systems will obliterate what the school had in place.

It feels like the forces of the Empire have taken over!

I don’t claim the school is perfect (no school is) and I fully accept that not all pupils and parents may have had the same experience of the school that we have.

But I object to the political dogma that has driven the school to this point – it has effectively been set up to fail, and now in the subsequent takeover, the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.

It has been made very clear by the MAT that this is not a ‘pick and mix’. I also heard them say ‘children are all the same’. I think they meant they were equal, but actually the policies reduce opportunities to explore individuality and identity and emphasise compliance.

I’m sure it will produce very good academic results, I’m not so sure it helps equip my children to face the adult world ahead of them.

I did not choose the school on the basis of Ofsted reports. I chose it on the basis of the philosophy, culture and the opportunity for my girls to learn how to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, and become responsible contributors to society.

Hmm, anyway enough of my ranting. Back to how I made my girls proud…

I spoke my truth at the public meetings, but did so reasonably, with conviction. I publicly acknowledged the staff and the gratitude I felt for them (several cried because they are understandably feeling very hurt, raw and criticised).

So I played my part and took action to influence the things we can control, but did not waste my energy on the things we can’t control. Hence I brought constructive challenge and did not blame.

Change is not easy, especially when you feel you have little control over what is happening to you.

We often can’t control what happens to us, but we can control how we wish to respond. It’s our choice as to how to represent the values we believe in.

Every person, every situation contains both ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and both need acknowledgement.

We may not have the ability to change the outcome, but it does not mean we should accept without question, or fail to stand for what we believe. Learned helplessness, apathy and disconnect would be a worse outcome still.

Neither should we seek to impose our own view without understanding and acknowledging the perspective of others. If we seek to combine the best of both, then we create synergy and a whole new world of possibility.

May the force be with you 🙂




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