Examination of Witnesses (Questions 360-364)|
7 MAY 2008
Q360 Mr Stuart: A good school normally
has well motivated, happy teachers who are able to deliver good
education for their pupils. What is it about Academies that will
make it more likely that we will retain teacherswe are
losing so many at the momentand motivate them better and
thus have happier, more secure and better educated pupils?
Stephen Patriarca: It is two things,
fundamentally. There is the community and ethos issue that I talked
about, which obviously teachers need to be part of, and then there
is the flexibility and independence in how you employ and deploy
Q361 Mr Stuart: So do you have worries
about policy going forward? There seems to be increasing local
authority sponsorship of Academies and greater requirements to
adhere to the national curriculum. Do you fear that freedom, which
is the essence of being able to deliver that, may be constricted
Stephen Patriarca: Some of those
decisions do not apply retrospectively to Academies where the
principles are already enshrined in their funding agreement. In
terms of issues such as the national curriculum, quite honestly
I cannot see what the controversy is. We would want to deliver
the core subjects of the national curriculum anyway. If it becomes
more prescriptive than that, I would have a problem, but I do
not have a problem with it as it is.
Q362 Mr Stuart: I have a quick question
for Patrick. Anthony Seldon said that all independent schools
should sponsor an Academy. Was he right? Why are you not doing
Patrick Derham: I am going back
to how I answered an earlier question. It is just one way of reaching
out and doing very good work. I have no problem with it at all.
It is not right for everybody. Rugby has always believed in the
principle of integration, right back to 1567. We think that we
can do much more by pupils benefiting from being at the school
and from the resources and support that they get from us, and
from the knock-on consequences of them being positive role models
back in their communities. That is what the charities have said
to us about pupils. We seriously looked at the Academies programme,
but again we felt that if were to get involved, it would have
to be something within Rugby. The success of our partnership work
has been because we are so close together and have strong working
relationships. We are not sponsoring an Academy because we feel
that within our resources our priorities are elsewhere, but we
are fully supportive of our colleagues who are involved in that.
Q363 Chairman: Patrick, do you or
your staff spend any time exchanging with teachers and heads in
the state sector? A school like yours is extremely well endowed,
although perhaps it is like my old school, which dates back to
a similar time and was originally funded for the education of
poor Christian souls, although no longer. I am sure that many
people in the state sector would look at your school and say if
you could not teach these kids and get good results, you should
be dragged out into the street and shot. They come from supportive
backgrounds and you test them before admission. It is a very special
environment, is it not? Do you think it would be a good idea for
your staff to spend one or two weeks a year teaching in a state
school with a very different kind of clientele?
Patrick Derham: We have a policy
of such things if staff want to do it, but it is finding the time
to make it work. We have a lot of contact with our colleagues
in the maintained sector through what we are doing already. I
agree that it is not the same as doing a one or two-week exchange.
We are doing quite a lot in that area, so we learn things from
them and they learn from us. The idea is interesting.
Q364 Chairman: Steve, did you ever
have any of that sort of experience? Did you go into a state school
for a week, imbibe the atmosphere there and give advice to the
Stephen Patriarca: Not personally,
but there is a good deal of interaction with the staff.
Chairman: Okay. This has
been a very interesting and informative session. Please maintain
contact with the Committee. We will very pleased if you reflect
on what you have been askedand have not been asked. If
you want to help us make our inquiry better than it otherwise
would be, we should be grateful for your communication.
Patrick Derham: I will certainly
write to you about the curriculum, which I am sorry that we did
not have a chance to talk about.
Chairman: As you know, we are moving
on to a separate inquiry into the curriculum. We would value your
Patrick Derham: Thank you very
7 See Ev 83. Back