Questions over Rawmarsh Community School's financial plight

Questions over Rawmarsh Community School's financial plight

By Ruth Booth | 15/11/2010

Questions over Rawmarsh Community School's financial plight

Sir, Mr Clowes asked, in last week's letters, who is to be held accountable for a £400,000 overspend at Rawmarsh Community School.

I too would like to know how this occured and who is going to be held responsible. The current head has only recently been appointed so it is obviously not his fault, but surely the previous head, now working for the local authority, must be in some way responsible, he should have known that the school was in a financial quagmire.

Did he seek help from the local authority? Were promises made regarding grants or special funding that failed to materialise?

If not, measures should have been taken to extricate the school from such an overspend before it became so huge.

The board of governors are, or should be, presented with the schools financial report towards the end of the financial year. They should also receive a report showing proposed spending for the folowing year.

Was this overspend highlighted for governors to see and if so,did they query this and seek advice from the local education authority?

These questions need addressing and, as a resident of Parkgate, I hope others, especially those with children attending Rawmarsh School,will seek clarification as to what is now going to happen to the school.

My children, and many others, received a very good education whilst at this school and a great deal of work was done by Mr Gillot and others to forge links with local primary schools and to ensure the school received a fair mix of pupils with a range of abilities. Examination results have improved steadily over time and the children in the local catchment area had a school in which they could excel.

None of the above could have happened without the dedication and sheer hard work and determination of the staff in the school. I worked as a learning support assistant in the school and know there are some very dedicated and hard working staff that are going to lose their jobs.

Many of these staff have helped raise the profile of the school and have gone above and beyond to provide children with a decent education, often in very difficult circumstances. This overspend is not of their making and they should not be the ones losing their jobs. If these teachers leave who is going to teach the children?

A school cannot function properly without an adequate number of experienced teachers. Parents need to know how many experienced teachers are going to be left to teach their children and to ensure they receive the education they deserve.

Parents also need to be enquiring about the number of children in a class, as class sizes are bound to increase if there are decreasing numbers of staff.

One of the governors, Councillor Shaun Wright is a member of the Local Government Associations Childrens' Board, a body which aims to 'reshape and improve provision of services to children and young people', (Councillor Wright's web page).

I hope he is going to keep a closer eye on what happens at Rawmarsh School, because I fear it will no longer be 'improving' anything for the children of Rawmarsh and Parkgate.

The staff lucky enough to keep their jobs wil be completely demoralised, no doubt, wondering how safe their jobs are, whilst being upset at the treatment of their colleagues.

Mr Clowes asked, 'Who is accountable?' He may never get an honest answer to that question,but I can tell him who is going to suffer as a result and that is the young people of Rawmarsh and Parkgate.

Ruth Booth, Holm Flatt Street, Parkgate.