I t must have made for an extraordinary sight. Here, according to witnesses, was Anthony Seldon — one of England's most prominent and eloquent headteachers — bent almost double, "shrieking" in assembly at a group of and year-olds.
The scene was an assembly in the first week of term at academy, a state comprehensive under the sponsorship of Seldon's famous public school, Wellington College. Seldon was telling his new students how things were going to be from now on. The high-profile master of Wellington College, who is the author or editor of more than 30 books including a biography of Tony Blair, is uncharacteristically shy about discussing this incident.
But sources close to the charismatic head say he was forced to speak up because pupils would not be quiet, and that he had to ask one student to leave the room because he could not make himself heard. Friends say it was completely out of character for Seldon to be raising his voice.
And in a statement, the acting principal, Michael Milner, says: The start-of-term assembly came during a turbulent few weeks for Wellington academy, the comprehensive in rural Wiltshire that has become a test case for the potential of state-private links. Seldon, who was the driving force behind the launch of the academy inis a passionate advocate of private schools sponsoring academies to break down barriers between the Sir anthony seldon wife sexual dysfunction. He has long been keen to work in the state sector.
In an interview with Education Guardian, he once explained how tricky it had proved over the years to find a school that would appoint him. Later, they probably thought I didn't understand enough about state schools, and I think that really is
Sir anthony seldon wife sexual dysfunction fair point.
It's very easy to move from state to independent, very hard to move from independent to state. There were always better people. Now, suddenly, he has a hands-on role in a state school as Wellington academy's executive head, following the sudden departure of the school's founding principal, Andy Schofield, last month after a bad set of headline GCSE results.
The tricky assembly may be a symbol of some of the challenges private schools face in offering their expertise to state schools. Non-selective Wellington academy, 40 miles away on the edge of Salisbury plain, is also housed in an impressive building, but has a diverse intake, including many children of families living in army barracks nearby. What the sponsorship means in practice is partly financial: Bunting also sits on the academy's governing body.
In addition to the money, some college staff work part-time at the academy, there is academic outreach work and the two schools hold joint events, such as drama productions. The partnership is the most high-profile example of attempts by both the Labour and coalition governments to encourage private schools to sponsor academies.
But recent events at Wellington academy seem to highlight some of the difficulties. Back in mid-August, all seemed to be going swimmingly.
The academy's A-level results had just been released, prompting governors to issue a press release hailing record grades. But the GCSE data a week later appears to have caused panic within the governing body. This seems to have been driven largely by a problem in English, where, of 90 Wellington academy pupils taking a foundation paper, all but 10 failed to get the C grade. There have been murmurings nationally about harsh marking and a rise in the C grade "pass mark".
But, with the Department for Education also intervening to tell governors that the school's grades were not good enough, any anomalies in the results seem to have held no sway.
The governing body held an emergency meeting, before telling Schofield three days later he was leaving, with immediate effect.
Soon afterwards, the press release hailing the school's excellent A-level results was taken down from the website. Now Milner, a former Wellington College deputy Sir anthony seldon wife sexual dysfunction, has taken over as acting principal. He had been seconded to work part-time at the academy last year as Schofield's deputy.
The stakes are certainly high for the academy, the policy, the DfE and Seldon himself. Education Guardian understands that DfE officials visited the academy in the early days of this term and were unimpressed by some pupils' behaviour. This Sir anthony seldon wife sexual dysfunction have contributed to Seldon's tough stance.
With Seldon taking a more hands-on role, there have been moves to instil a stricter, perhaps more Wellington College-like, approach to uniform and behaviour. The academy's new management says parents, staff and pupils all welcome the changes. On uniform, rules have been strictly enforced.
A parent source says staff are routinely checking the colour of pupils' socks, for example. The school has also introduced a new system of escalating punishments for misbehaviour. This is popular in other state schools, but a Wellington academy staff source says: But you also need to understand what may be going on in their life at home. If you do not work with children, you are lining yourself up for trouble.
It is unclear whether this is related to the change to league table rules on multiple GCSE entries earlier this month. Seldon is positive about the future. He doesn't want to re-live the assembly debacle, but in a statement to parents he explained: When the expected improvements of behaviour did not occur, had to go back and speak to them again more sharply.
While I made it clear that the great majority of them are looking very smart, and are behaving extremely well … I also told them that the poor behaviour, appearance, and lack of respect by the minority cannot continue… I know that we have the support of the great majority of pupils, parents and all the staff in this quest.
There is no great record of success yet for independent schools sponsoring academy comprehensives. Dulwich College, perhaps the best-known school other than Wellington to be lead sponsor of an academy, will pull out of its sponsorship of the Isle of Sheppey academy, Kent, in January.
Mary "Sir anthony seldon wife sexual dysfunction," general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, says: It is not a simple thing to teach children in challenging circumstances, and there is no easy route to improvement. Order by newest oldest recommendations.
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