It prides itself on improving attendance rates and warns parents that requests for term-time holidays are always turned down.Never look at what people say about fairness, equality, justice, and being ‘in partnership’ with parents; always look at what they do.
So they were a little surprised when their children came home saying school was shutting for a couple of days... as the teachers were off to Spain.
Today, the 80 staff at Edensor Technology College leave Stoke-on-Trent for a four-star resort in Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, to hold meetings about the school's future.
The four-day trip will allow staff to discuss the curriculum and plans to turn the school into an academy.By the pool..! Score!
Richard Mercer said: 'It's unbelievable, but it's more cost-effective to go abroad as it's the end of Marbella's season.You mean, the headmaster of a school was previously unaware that holidays are cheaper out of season?
'We looked at conference facilities in Birmingham and London but they are even more expensive.
'We need to get all the staff together to discuss the new curriculum and the planned move to Park Hall to become an academy.
'If parents think this is a jolly they should join us and find out how hard the staff work. They are giving up their weekend.
'If you take out the place name, the training is the same, and the cost is the same because we booked a year ago.'
And your staff aren’t ‘giving up their weekend’ at all – they are being whisked off to a four-star resort at taxpayers’ expense to spend a few hours listening to policy wonks drone at them over PowerPoint slides and then…it’s party-time, baby..!
Parents were far from convinced, however. They pointed out that the prospectus for the the school, which has below average exam results, warns of the importance of 'regular and punctual attendance' so pupils, aged 11-16, can fulfil their potential.Yes, but that’s just the children, obviously. It’s totally different if the school does it. It just is. Don’t ask why, drone, we aren’t asking for your opinion (just your money). We know best…
If parents do not prevent their children from playing truant, they face a £50 fine and ultimately the threat of imprisonment.
The resort complex at which the staff will be staying has a poolside bar, Turkish baths and a casino. It is a short stroll from the beach and is close to golf courses and watersports.Sounds exhausting…
During the conference, they will hear from guest speakers including an education consultant and a curriculum expert, before returning on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the school, in Longton, will be closed today and tomorrow.
Stoke-on-Trent's mayor Mark Meredith, said: 'At a time of global financial crisis, this is not the message that a Stokeon-Trent school should be delivering.Well, firstly, let’s not try to get the ‘credit crunch’ shoehorned into everything, ok? It’s still be a scandal even if the economy was booming. The key message here is that the school are sticking two fingers up to the taxpayer and the parents of the children who attend it by saying, in effect, ‘It’s one rule for us and another for you’, and they are doing it secure in the knowledge that there will be little comeback on them.
'This really is a crazy move when thousands of people across the city are feeling the pinch. Whether it's cost-effective or not, this is doing damage to the reputation of our schools.'
And secondly, about that ‘reputation’…:
Last year, just 34 per cent of pupils at the college achieved at least five good GCSEs including English and maths. The national average is 46.7 per cent.Actually, perhaps they should all stay in Marbella. The results might actually improve…
The school said in a statement that it had obtained quotes from nine venues and the Marbella complex had been the cheapest.Mmm, that ‘quality education’ you speak of? Doesn’t look like much for the money, now does it…?
'We are investing in training our staff to ensure the continuity of quality education for our pupils.'
Update: (Ed - this is the other one...) Not so fast, freeloaders..!
A school has abandoned plans to hold a teacher training conference in the upmarket Spanish resort of Marbella after the story sparked a storm of protest.Hmm, wonder if there'll be a headmaster vacancy arising in the near future, too...?
Staff from Edensor Technology College, Stoke-on-Trent, were due to fly out today but school chiefs pulled the plug as they arrived with their suitcases.