New headteacher at Toby Young’s free school axes trips and pupils’ clubs

The Evening Standard is reporting that the new headteacher at Toby Young’s West London Free School has slashed the number of trips and after-school clubs, saying that staff need to focus on teaching…

Hywel Jones has told parents that he is undertaking a “general rebalancing” of the school by reducing extra-curricular activities and making sure children catch up on work.

The Hammersmith school was one of the first free schools when it opened in 2011 and aimed at parents who wanted a traditional, academic education for their children.

Toby Young, who set up the school, admitted today that its focus on extra-curricular activities had been “too ambitious”.

All children were expected to take part in four, hour-long after-school clubs a week in subjects including Mandarin, Spanish and chess. Mr Jones said year 10 students will now be expected to take part in just one club a week. Pupils in years seven and eight are still expected to complete three hours of after-school clubs a week.

Mr Jones, the school’s third headteacher in three years who will start full time in September, has also banned overseas and residential trips during term time, and said that all sports fixtures must take place in the last two periods of the day.

In a letter to parents, he said: “I know that the pupils get a huge amount out of these activities, but organising them takes up a great deal of the staff’s time. I’d like the staff to be able to focus on what it is we’ve hired them to do, which is teach your children.” Mr Jones told the Standard that the changes were “minor” and had been welcomed by parents.

Mr Young said: “I think the secondary school was trying to do a little bit too much in replicating the kind of extra-curricular programme you would find in good independent boarding schools, and at the same time hoping to get outstanding academic results. That’s a little bit too ambitious.”…

More at: New headteacher at Toby Young’s free school axes trips and pupils’ clubs

 

Do you have sympathy with the position of Hywel Jones here – is it sometimes the case that too many trips or extra-curricular activities can be a distraction from teaching? Please let us know how you see it in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. jess_madge

    SchoolsImprove Another unrealistic free school business plan hits buffers. We could have told ’em overseas trips are not for term time. 🙂

  2. birch_david

    SchoolsImprove It seems that in its attempt to mimic private schools it’s been doing enrichment by numbers

  3. Janet2

    WLFS was heavily promoted as the ‘Eton of the State Sector’ which was supposed to be linked with London Oratory (this turned out not to be true).  But Eton, like all boarding schools, offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities because they have to keep their charges occupied during the times other children are with their families.  This simple fact seemed to have been missed by Gove, Truss et al who think extending school hours will automatically raise standards.  It doesn’t.

    It’s interesting that the move to reduce extra-curricular activities was ‘welcomed’ by parents.  Perhaps compulsory extra activities (as opposed to voluntary ones) aren’t so popular after all.  Mandatory extra hours were opposed by a large number of parents at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy (formerly Greenacre Primary School) who saw them as impinging on family life (see second link).

    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/apr/05/toby-young-london-free-school (‘Eton of the State Sector’)

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/07/will-longer-school-days-impact-badly-on-family-life-great-yarmouth-parents-divided-on-plans-to-extend-academy-school-day/

  4. jess_madge

    VictoriaJaquiss SchoolsImprove So true – and they are not removing teachers. And even fee paying schools don’t do trips in term I think.

  5. miconm

    Annette1Hardy SchoolsImprove do boarding schools do lots more than a day school? Children have less opportunity to do out of school things

  6. miconm

    Annette1Hardy SchoolsImprove but the same would apply to a deprived intake. Lots of free schools want to address this. Agree compulsion

  7. Annette1Hardy

    miconm SchoolsImprove Don’t know tbh. At my boys’ day school most of the after school stuff is voluntary.

  8. miconm

    Annette1Hardy SchoolsImprove might make them a chore & excessive term time residential visits that cost are problematic. I didn’t ever

  9. miconm

    Annette1Hardy SchoolsImprove absolutely. But it would be churlish of me to say to him ‘I told you so’. Wouldn’t it? 🙂

  10. miconm

    Annette1Hardy SchoolsImprove what I am glad of is that they took opportunity to get good advice & what looks like a good head.

  11. _____scape

    citizen_LJ SchoolsImprove great balance – ridiculously sad. Reminds me of my Grammar School experience 30years ago.

  12. colinsparkbridg

    birch_david SchoolsImprove Could he also “axe” the pretension that goes with the school and its founder?

  13. stbons

    SchoolsImprove A big mistake. Often done by National challenge schools. Eerie cues outside classroom enhance the learning.
    School = fun!

  14. miconm

    balance_ec SchoolsImprove guessed he was a MAT trust director now as they have local GBs. But he shouldn’t be a Member now employed …

  15. balance_ec

    miconm SchoolsImprove So bizarre that there’s such a lack of consistency depending on funding agreement in force at time

  16. miconm

    balance_ec SchoolsImprove that’s because DfE keep wanting to put new restrictions in & they cannot retrospectively change existing ones

  17. BarkerLeadershp

    miconm balance_ec SchoolsImprove Tho if he is CEO then I think that’s ok as many other MAT have paid CEO

  18. miconm

    BarkerLeadershp balance_ec SchoolsImprove new FAs forbid employees being members. Principal can be ex-officio trustee…

  19. miconm

    BarkerLeadershp balance_ec SchoolsImprove and there can be staff. Trustees. As CEO TY is the Principal. (Rules still muddled as they

  20. BarkerLeadershp

    miconm balance_ec SchoolsImprove “muddled” and undoubtedly misguided, but perfectly within legal framework !!!

  21. miconm

    BarkerLeadershp balance_ec SchoolsImprove our FA doesn’t prevent Principal or any other Trustees being a Member. In new ones only CoG

  22. miconm

    BarkerLeadershp balance_ec SchoolsImprove effectively though the members have the power so it seems to defeat point of governance

  23. BarkerLeadershp

    miconm balance_ec SchoolsImprove IMO many trusts do nothing real, as GB seen as bedrock of accountability. New model “may” change this

  24. balance_ec

    BarkerLeadershp miconm SchoolsImprove Exactly, Steve – leaving rather a complicated situation and extra work, as need to understand each

  25. balance_ec

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove That seems to have gone unnoticed- but governors appoint members in 1st place in some cases??

  26. miconm

    balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove technically members appoint members & trustees (governors). So power sits with members…

  27. miconm

    balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove they have to in order to form company. Initially members then became trustees.

  28. miconm

    balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove maybe new converters will find DfE suggesting members to them (from an approved list’. Scary

  29. balance_ec

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove That’s what I was getting at-govs appoint members to form co, then power sits with members not govs

  30. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove yes. But the members are the first directors. (Says so in our AoA I think).

  31. miconm

    balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove precisely. And now only 1 of those members (CoG) can be a trustee. So choose members wisely!

  32. miconm

    balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove in reality those 1st members should be from GB & the stand down as governors but remain members

  33. balance_ec

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Yes-or only existing approved chains can set up new/sponsor which is how seems to be for forced ac

  34. AndreaMorley46

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Yes-or only existing approved chains can set up new/sponsor which is how seems to be for forced acs

  35. balance_ec

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Some still doing that but having quite a battle – will be interesting to see how it goes

  36. miconm

    balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove have to say, policy has morphed into something quite cumbersome. A shame really.

  37. balance_ec

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Yes, a complicated situation with a huge range of different arrangements-some of 1st changing FAs

  38. balance_ec

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Causing even more work for all involved – and, of course, can also be associated expense

  39. miconm

    balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove think I’m gonna hang onto our FA until it’s detrimental. I know DfE will want schools to switch

  40. balance_ec

    miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Must sign off now – work to finish so I can have some holiday, hopefully! Thanks for chat 🙂

  41. JaPenn56

    5N_Afzal balance_ec miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove but, on conversion, GB decides who signs the FA so tech’y they appt Members.

  42. miconm

    JaPenn56 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove yep. Wonder if new converters will be ‘given’ approved members by DfE

  43. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Yes, that’s correct. Members enter I to contract with SoS and become first govs. That

  44. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove what happened with old FA. Don’t know how they’ll do it now that they want separation

  45. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove they’ll have to reword standard articles so 2/3 1st members don’t become trustees

  46. 5N_Afzal

    JaPenn56 balance_ec miconm BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Yes, forgot about that. How did GB decide who signs FA?

  47. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove we made a resolution right at start that GB would need to approve appointments…

  48. 5N_Afzal

    miconm JaPenn56 balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Are there enough of them? Maybe that’ll be stumbling block for new academies!

  49. miconm

    5N_Afzal JaPenn56 balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove one of the founding members sign it. Think EFA trying to make charity &

  50. miconm

    5N_Afzal JaPenn56 balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove company law fit a model. Hence all these silly anomalies

  51. miconm

    5N_Afzal JaPenn56 balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove maybe we should put ourselves forward to a pool of potential members?

  52. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Of Members? But Members hold GB to account, so appointing people to hold it to account?

  53. miconm

    5N_Afzal JaPenn56 balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove thing is, members only need to attend 1 meeting a year. The AGM.

  54. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove in a company members hold to account at AGM & by buying shares. Model doesn’t work

  55. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove in terms of academies. They don’t really have any reason to be involved!

  56. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove How many Members know they can hold GB to account? How ms y govs know they can be held

  57. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove they know. But we have 4 members who are all Trustees. They know who they are though

  58. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove as far as I can tell, there’s no mechanism at company house to record members or

  59. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove appointments/resignations. The founding members appear on the memorandum. That’s it!

  60. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove there’s also no requirement to report to members other that at AGM…

  61. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp Yours is one where people know what’s what. Many don’t! Cases where govs not listed at Co House!

  62. miconm

    5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp schools shouldn’t covert if they can’t keep Co House paperwork upto date. It’s a requirement

  63. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp Exactly! Seen one ofsted where GB OS but govs not listed at Co House. Our auditors check!

  64. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp They should make it their business to read GB minutes and call general meeting if things not right.

  65. 5N_Afzal

    miconm balance_ec BarkerLeadershp I think if it stops academies getting into a mess then worth it. Better than regional commissioners!

  66. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Difference bw Trust which starts life as a single converter school and…

  67. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove …one which doesn’t. Single converter sch:Govs wd be founding Members & Dirs

  68. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove but EFA seems to be promoting member/trustee model for all now…

  69. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove while in external model, Members and poss Directors are more likely non-govs

  70. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Does the “non-governor trustee” model give more accountability/ transparency?

  71. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove like anything it might do. Concern is that the members pull strings

  72. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove it’s an additional layer. Can see why you’d have that in a MAT but

  73. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Non-governor trustees have no less reason to be involved in overseeing Trust

  74. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove then they’re Trustees! Maybe that’s the distinction.

  75. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove …than Governors in overseeing mtd schools. Keep them informed & on side

  76. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove to me, all trustees are governors – but in fact that changes in MATs

  77. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove to be honest, in a single school it doesn’t seem worth it!

  78. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove In our MAT, our Members are guardians of the vision, appoint & dismiss Dirs..

  79. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove but legally members aren’t recorded at Co House except at start?

  80. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Directors then are the charity trustees. Some are CoGs from first schs, …

  81. miconm

    SchoolBarrister 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove agree that it makes sense to have this model in a MAT & if GB big…

  82. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove .. But others representing other perspectives, incl BizMgr & SchImprovemt

  83. SchoolBarrister

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove As with any company? Agree that company model being strained to fit.

  84. BarkerLeadershp

    5N_Afzal miconm balance_ec SchoolsImprove Even as a “member” myself I don’t like concept of two-tier governance!

  85. BarkerLeadershp

    SchoolBarrister miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec SchoolsImprove and more likely to not understand Sch governance, which can’t be good!

  86. BarkerLeadershp

    SchoolBarrister miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec SchoolsImprove Whichever way you look, a Sch is not a business: there are similarities only

  87. BarkerLeadershp

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec I agree and an unnecessary layer at that. If gov is working – great – if not, fix it don’t try to remodel it!

  88. miconm

    BarkerLeadershp 5N_Afzal balance_ec yep. And in fact this false elevation of members isn’t how it works in a company. They’ll be

  89. miconm

    BarkerLeadershp 5N_Afzal balance_ec shareholders if floated or likely become directors in limited liability companies. They set it up!

  90. JaPenn56

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Can’t remember, any limit on no. trusts you can be member of? Potential flaw?

  91. JaPenn56

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove So potentially could be a member of unlimited trusts, appointing trustees….

  92. JaPenn56

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Potential for abuse of system which appears to have been overlooked?

  93. miconm

    JaPenn56 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove DfE overlook something when the bring in knee jerk policy? Surely not?

  94. JaPenn56

    miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec BarkerLeadershp SchoolsImprove Perhaps the envelope it was written on the back of was only a tiny one?!?

  95. shortcutstv_cjl

    SchoolsImprove “The school’s third headteacher in three years” – what on earth would Lady Bracknell say?

  96. BarkerLeadershp

    SchoolBarrister miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec SchoolsImprove Oh please – it’s not Marvel comics: this is education!

  97. BarkerLeadershp

    SchoolBarrister miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec SchoolsImprove This is the issue: Sch imp is the only business a school is in

  98. SchoolBarrister

    BarkerLeadershp miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec SchoolsImprove It describes their role – hold to account & promote founding purpose via appt

  99. SchoolBarrister

    BarkerLeadershp miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec SchoolsImprove But as diverse acads have shown, lots of ways to pursue SchImpt

  100. BarkerLeadershp

    SchoolBarrister miconm 5N_Afzal balance_ec SchoolsImprove Not sure there is evidence a plenty to back up that claim !

  101. BarkerLeadershp

    miconm SchoolBarrister I know that, you know that but that does not result in clarity of terminology at a DfE methinks 🙂

  102. miconm

    SchoolBarrister BarkerLeadershp but in a company aren’t members only recorded on set up? More can be appointed but there’s no form like

  103. balance_ec

    BarkerLeadershp SchoolBarrister miconm 5N_Afzal SchoolsImprove Can see I’ve missed rather a lot here-76 notifications! Picking up trail

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