A MEETING that hoped to address worried parents’ concerns over a school’s proposed 45-hour week has been scrapped at the last minute - as no one from the school was available to attend.

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The lack of a positive RSVP from staff at Greenacre Primary School - including head teacher Bill Holledge - has frustrated parents and local councillors who say mums and dads will now be facing an apprehensive start to the new term as their questions go unanswered.

And the cancellation of the meeting due to be held tonight, which Greenacre staff had three weeks notice of, comes as some parents have begun to pull their children out of the Dickens Avenue school.

Tony Blencowe has moved his son Jack, six, to North Denes Junior School as he was so concerned about Greenacre’s proposals to keep children in class until 6pm, and the continued confusion among parents over whether the extra curricular activities they would be offered until then would be optional.

The 39-year-old builder said: “We don’t think it’s the right school for our son at the minute. And we’re not the only family. There’s people that have put in for transfers.”

The 45 hour week is being introduced at Greenacre as part of its plans to become an academy and change its name to Great Yarmouth Primary Academy.

The extended timetable will offer free activities to children including sport, IT, dancing and horse riding but angry parents have said the longer school day will wear their youngsters out and eat into family time.

Mr Blencowe gave credit to Mr Holledge, who has helped bring the school out of special measures and improve results, but slammed the way he and millionaire sponsor Theodore Agnew had failed to address parents in person.

“No one from that school is willing to attend the meeting, they just do not want to answer the questions,” he added.

Both Mr Holledge and Mr Agnew failed to attend a previous parents’ meeting in July and cited holidays for preventing them from coming to tonight’s.

Great Yarmouth Borough councillor Kerry Robinson Payne helped parents organise tonight’s meeting and said she had tried to get a governor or trustee to come along and represent the school, but her requests had gone unanswered.

She said: “The parents just wanted some face to face answers.

“The head is saying he’ll do an email, phone call or chat in the playground and yet I have had parents saying to me he’s not doing that.

“Everybody is in a state of confusion, especially about the extra curricular activities, and one parent has said to me there’s definitely some tension in the air.”

“I’m certainly not against an academy but the treatment of the parents had been terrible,” Mrs Robinson Payne added.

Fellow councillor Michael Jeal was equally annoyed that the meeting had to be called off.

He said: “What is the point of talking to ourselves and not getting any answers? They couldn’t even send a deputy or even a member from the governing body.”

Mr Holledge and Mr Agnew stated a document they have sent to parents is “clear and comprehensive” and said they were happy to meet parents individually to discuss concerns.

The document also said the programme of activities offered to youngsters continues to “evolve” to help meet “the needs of our pupils”.

Since the academy announcement extra activities have been added to the extended school timetable, including cooking classes, trips to the north Norfolk coast to study seals and time at Cambridge University to learn about rocket engineering.

During the summer holidays the school is also investing £150,000 in new boilers and central heating in the gym and community room that is hoped will help youngsters concentrate in class come September.

12 comments

  • .....We have no voice and our views which r legitimate r being totally ignored......r u sure?

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Well said Daisy Roots. We have no voice and our views which r legitimate r being totally ignored. Is this local democracy or a socialist state. Many parents r taking their children to North Denes and the ever improving St Nicholas Priory.

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    Sportswagon

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • This is an outrage for them not to turn up again. As a parent from the school I need some answers about what my child will be doing in these so called activites... I just don't understand why it has to be compulsory if its activites surely that makes it after school clubs? I have also e-mailed the headmaster asking him and Mr Agnew to answer some of the questions that I have but all I ever get from him is there will be letters sent out to parents nearer the time, but that dosen't help us cause by then all we will get is its to late now its already in place.

    Report this comment

    Kaz

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

  • One thing apparently missing from the curriculum is a course in honesty and good manners; but as the Head and governors seem to have none, it is perhaps not surprising.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • I think the extra activies after school are good IF they are optional but they cannot be compulsory, children actually belong the the parents, and family time is just as important. 6 hours a day at school is more than long enough for most children!

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Initially as an ex pupil of this school I thought the changes proposed on the surface appeared to be very positive. However I dislike the compulsory element of the extra activities and cannot understand why the sponsor or Head teacher appear to be so resistant to explaining the changes to the parents in an open and honest meeting.This needs to be addressed quickly the new school term will be here soon!

    Report this comment

    philski

    Monday, August 6, 2012

  • Anything tainted by Mr Gove is bound to be arrogant.

    Report this comment

    Johnboy

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Ever get the feeling you are being stiffed? You so are.

    Report this comment

    fester1902

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • once again i ask since when has a sponser ruled a school headmaster and his staff ??? if the school can treat parents in this arrogant manner what will it be teaching children. school is a time for learning life skills and such surely not to learn how to ignore people who wish to know what plans are ahead. becoming an academy is good but not when it upsets the people who matters most parents and children!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    i am mostly wrong??

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Obviously individual teachers would not be allowed to attend and speak on behalf of the school at such a meeting and to expect them to is a bit unfair. The people who should be getting it in the neck are those on the governing body, the head teacher and the so called sponsor. Perhaps the EDP would like to ask for figures, how much this chap is putting in for so much say in the running, how much extra the tax payer is paying for the academy and what the difference will be between how much Greenacre school received per child a year before it became an academy and how much it will get next year ( and whether this will stay the same or fall in the future). I hate to say it, but the people of South Yarmouth are being ridden over roughshod because someone has decided they are collectively disadvantaged and their objections can be ignored for that reason.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Well, thats shot that myth in the foot that teachers use the holidays to do schoolwork and prepare for the next term.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Friday, August 3, 2012

  • Obviously they can't be trusted

    Report this comment

    chris

    Friday, August 3, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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