Angered by your story about school
I felt angry reading your article on The Towers School (Towers Jobs To Go, Says Union, KE, January 28).
I found the article negative and scaremongering to parents who may have recently chosen Towers as their school choice for the Year 7 intake in September and also to parents whose children are current students.
My child is in his fifth year at this school and with another that has just started, so I feel justifiably qualified to comment.
Since Richard Billings has taken over as principal he has turned the school around. Speaking honestly, it has been tough at times while massive changes have occurred during the process, but we always knew it was a means to a positive end.
The changes made are countless, and all for the better.
The provisions made for new Year 7s are second to none, and the support for the children and parents is exemplary. Facilities for all the students have expanded and improved, including after school activities.
School times were altered which is far more beneficial to the students as more time is spent learning. All staff are approachable and really ‘know’ the students, we receive regular progress reports, there is zero tolerance on bullying and disruptive behaviour, I could go on and on.
Most importantly, the provision and support for current Year 11s who take their GCSE’s this year has amazed me.
English and maths mock exams that were recently taken were followed up in great detail with an invitation to the school for an informative talk, with teachers on hand to guide you and your child through the paper.
During these talks, particularly the 6th form talk, you can tell that all the staff, and in particular Mr Billings, who is the best motivational speaker I’ve ever heard by the way, really do care about this school and most importantly, their students.
Every decision made at this school has been for the good of the students’ wellbeing and education.
Your article hasn’t swayed me one bit. I have made the right choices for my children in their schooling. In fact one has just applied to Towers 6th form, as we believe it is THE best school in this area, despite what your article implies, and often what all your articles on this school tend to imply.
You said: ‘The school says it strives for ‘Excellence in Everything’ but Ofsted inspectors found it ‘requires improvement’ when they visited in September 2014.
Well, September 2014 is a while ago now, and the visit was made while major improvements were still in their infancy.
If you were to have first hand facts yourself about this school you would know the motto stands and will continue to become even more powerful.
Maybe you could contact the school (if they’ll speak to you) and ask them about their recent results for the current Year 11s who have already taken their GCSE English Language exam.
They may not wish to share with you the high percentage that passed, due to all your negative reporting, but I suspect even if they did, this is
Towers School something you would simply not wish your readers to see.
Its incredibly sad you can’t support your local school and only dig for dirt. Get more facts, insight from people with first hand experience and, most importantly, report with more up to date information, and you could maybe publish a more positive article, especially when it is so deserved. Nicola Perry, Singleton
EDITOR REPLIES: Our story last week centred on planned redundancies at the school, one of the largest in Ashford, which is of obvious interest to the staff involved, parents, pupils and the wider community. Mr Billings was approached on several occasions for his comments but declined to respond to our requests. the exam results at the North School (Must Do Better, KE, January 28).
I had the privilege of teaching at the North for many years under the direction of several head teachers.
Each successive management team endeavoured to provide pupils and staff with a safe and purposeful learning environment, reflecting the talents and strengths of all those present.
All of this was carried out under the direction of ministers of education, regardless of political colour, who attempted with some success to restrict school budgets and alter the curriculum to suit their respective political agendas.
The cohesive nature of the school was frequently upset by such interference. A distinct reluctance to allow the school to develop its strengths and resolve any weaknesses, was a continual thread throughout my experience.
The frustration of trying to do the best for the pupils took its toll on the staff, who often felt that government guidance was completely out of touch with the real world!
Despite all this and under the watchful eye of Ofsted, pupils were able to flourish, some more successfully than others.
If teachers were allowed to teach using their considerable skills to hone a consistent curriculum for the benefit of pupils who have only one chance of gaining a sound education, this would make a sound basis for improving exam results.
Dismantling a school and attempting to resolve educational problems without consensus will only result in continual disappointment and fundamentally disturb the opportunities for generations of young people.
One final point, the cost of a ‘Super Head’ and continuous inspections would be better spent for the benefit of both staff and pupils at the North School.
Happy memories of a school that has served Ashford well. Nick Fysh, Godinton Park, Ashford