It all started with the setting up of The Academy of Portland for 4 to 19-year-olds. This evolved by closing, although they preferred to call it ‘replacing’, Chesil Cove Federation, Royal Manor College, Grove Infant and Foundation Stage School along with Southwell Primary School.
One can only begin to imagine the upheaval all of this caused for pupils, parents and teachers. All of this occurred in time for an opening in September 2012. Well the lab-rats are about to be put through it all again in time for September 2016 – yep, that’s just seven months away.
They are looking to introduce an American style ‘Move if you Pass’ system. You know the American comedy standard of an 18 year old held back in a class of 12 year olds. Oh how we laughed! Well that’s what they want to do down in Portland and they call it “Stage not Age” whereby children move classes when they are ready, rather than simply by age.
Parents have been told that the changes would provide “the very best education and opportunities”; unless you are that 18 year old held back, again, with a class of 12 year olds.
So what is the advantage of this system? What great educational philosophy is being followed in this Off-Shore Educational Experiment? Well it’s simpler than that – it’s to save money. They can cut the equivalent of 15 full-time jobs as part of this move. That actually equates to 21 people who will lose their job.
The Educational Scientists at the school said it hoped most redundancies would be voluntary. Clearly that doesn’t mean they all will be.
Many of us warned what could happen if you worked in a newly created Academy and they have all been realised. This money saving idea at Portland has elements even we had not foreseen. Yet they still wonder why there is a problem with recruitment!