1/ My son like many others started at Clydeview Academy last month. Within a few days, many parents including myself were being told by our children that we would have to supply packed lunches as there wasn't enough time for the kids to queue up, buy lunches and eat them as the facilities were too small to cope!
One rainy day last week my son came home and said that he was sitting in the canteen eating lunch when a teacher asked him and his pals to move so others could get some lunch. He says that the corridors were too crammed with pupils and that the classrooms were closed. When several pupils pointed this out they were told that the classrooms would stay closed and that if they thought the corridors were too busy they should go outside! They decided that it was indeed safer in the rain and spent the remainder of the break sheltering in a doorway!
I was very vocal prior to the building of the school as it was known in advance that it was too small. [Council Reassurance in March 2010] Many people complained prior to this school being opened that it wasn't big enough, they are now being proved correct!
I intend to write and officially complain to the local authority but would be interested if any pupils, parents or indeed staff have any similar complaints regarding this newly build multi-million pound school!
2/ Paul from Greenock identifies one of many problems with the new Clydeview Academy. The Parent Council meets on Monday 12 September to explore these issues. Parents can contact the Clydeview Academy Parent Council through http://www.clydeviewacademy.org.uk/contact
Graeme Brooks, Joint Chairman, Clydeview Academy Parent Council
3/ I am a student of Clydeview Academy myself. I feel like my opinion is one shared by many of the pupils within the school. Clydeview Academy was build too small for the amount of students it has taken in. Both Greenock Academy and Gourock High School had the adequate space and the facilities to support all of their students in every department. But Clydeview's departments are struggling to cope with the number and needs of students -- classes are often displaced to other departments around the school (for example once a week a Higher Physics class has to be taken in a music room because all the science rooms are being used at that allotted time).
Clydeview Academy also has a problem with the amount of seating available for students at break and lunch times, as has been mentioned above. Many students are being asked to move from seats when they have finished eating because there isn't enough seating for other students. But where are we supposed to go from there?
The Sixth Year, being one of the largest year groups within the school, has been given a common room of an unsuitable size. The common room is tiny compared to the number of Sixth Years meaning many of the Sixth Year pupils either have to sit along the seated corridor/balcony or in the canteen.
The windows of the school are ridiculous. In modern studies and the maths department (not to mention other departments) you can hear the wind whistling through the classroom windows. I am unsure if you can feel a draft through them but the noise is quite distracting even for people at the front of the class.
The stairs are very cramped and busy between period changes. Many of the younger pupils struggle to make their way to classes through the crowds (often this results in pushing and shoving).
Many students (including myself) are carrying bags full of books near a stone in weight, and we still have not heard about when lockers will be distributed or how many pupils will be able to get lockers. This is a lot of weight for students to be expected to carry every day, all day.
There are I'm sure many pupils, parents and possibly teachers who feel the same way. I would advise them to air their views, nothing can be fixed or try to be fixed if the problem is not talked about.
4/ I am also a student of Clydeview Academy but I am in First Year and, in the last weeks of primary school, the people who were came in to talk to us about the new school said that 'the school may have more pupils than it's supposed to but it's more than capable of taking them'. Yet the queues for lunch sometimes stretch right around the canteen and sometimes people are not getting their lunch at all. At the first break every day, there are snacks available eg sandwiches, cookies, etc but, once you have waited in the queue and have bought your item, you only have about one to three minutes of break left to eat it. Now the seating problem; they have circular tables about four foot across and sometimes there are 10 of us sitting there. They are also struggling to cope with the amount of classrooms for example. I have science three times a week and one of them is in a computing room and the same with French. When we change class we are sometimes late because the corridors are crammed full of people. It is ridiculous that they knew the school would be too small yet they still built it this size.
5/ I cannot believe anyone would question Inverclyde education authority. Inverclyde education authority has said ‘everything will be okay’ at Clydeview Academy. They close the two best performing schools in Inverclyde. (re Herald School League tables). They open a new school with a new staff organisation. They are on record as saying there will be no extra temporary accommodation, staff, or bussing of pupils to other locations. How can they be wrong? If they look at any business model where organisations have closed and re-opened in a new set-up with a new organisation structure they would have realised there will be a dip in performance and results. Does anyone care?
6/ I was interested and disappointed to hear that there was a parent council meeting last night! I received no text, no letter to advise and I've just gone onto parent council website and no update either? Please can parents be advised in advance of next parent council meeting.
7/ It has been interesting to read your readers’ comments regarding Clydeview Academy.
I wanted to let readers know that last Thursday (8 September) I moved that a full report be supplied to the Education Committee members on how things are working out at the school. After some resistance from the Labour convener of the Education Committee it was agreed that this would be produced by corporate director Albert Henderson in conjunction with the head teacher.
I, along with the other SNP councillors and Liberal Councillors, made the case two years ago for temporary accommodation to be provided on site for the first few years of the school to allow the over-crowding to be effectively dealt with. Education officials maintain that within a few years the roll will fall to a level which the school is designed for. With that in mind, the SNP felt that modern portable buildings with plumbing and wifi etc would be a solution for the first few years.
This was not accepted by the Labour / Tory council administration. They argued that this would not be needed as measures were being put in place to use non-teaching areas as classrooms and for rotational canteen sittings. Over the last two weeks I have had contact from concerned parents and as a result I asked for an official report.
If this report indicates any difficulties with managing the over-crowding I will be arguing for the implementation of temporary accommodation on site. This will at least alleviate some of the issues. In my view the administration was wrong not to have provided this right from the start.
Over the past two years, parent councils, parents, teachers and opposition councillors were all assured that all would be fine. I fear that isn't the case.
Councillor Chris Osborne
8/ Coincidentally my son's class discussed this very topic yesterday. The teacher’s view was that the school was built this size to cope with projected student numbers in 20 years time! If this is the case does that mean the students for the next 20 years have to have their studies suffer?
9/ Further to Cllr Osborne's comments, firstly I welcome the fact that he has raised the issue and I sincerely hope the report is full and independent!
However I would still like to know who is responsible for this shambles! My son has ONE SHOT at his education and I think it is disgraceful that the go-ahead was given for the project knowing that it was too small! Surely if a school this size was needed in two years or 20 years, that is the time to build it, not now with thousands of children's education apparently coming second to council economics!
I do not believe temporary buildings are the answer. I've seen them elsewhere and they are cold, noisy and expensive!! Here is a radical idea, for the next few years until the Clydeview Academy building is fit for purpose, keep the current campus as Gourock High and refurbish Greenock Academy allowing, as Paddy stated, two of the best schools in Scotland to get back to teaching our kids! I know the fabric of the old Academy school wasn't the best but I am willing to bet that the cost of a refurb would be substantially less than temporary buildings.
Finally I am alarmed at some of the comments regarding conditions in the corridors from the pupils themselves saying stairs are cramped and busy.
10/ I am writing in response to current overcrowding. I can’t believe after spending all those millions of pounds, yet again they have got it so wrong. Disgruntled teenagers coming out every day demoralised by all the issues raised -- overcrowding, no lunch or very little time to eat it, even when bringing in a packed lunch its the same. Goodness knows how they will cope especially in this wet weather. Heavy bags are another issue. I called school re allocation of lockers and was told to ask my child or get her to ask someone at school for that answer. So no communication internally either -- it’s a disgrace. They never had these problems in their old school. What a huge disappointment for all the kids and parents not too mention the hassle the staff must be getting. It will be interestng to see how and if they deal with current issues.
11/ Sadly this failed school design is a problem not necessarily particular to Clydeview Academy; it is endemic within the architectural design and planning fraternity. One need only look at other examples recently:
Gourock Station - The railway ticket office is almost physically as far away from the ferry embarkation point as possible. No thought was given to the user journey, and plans were not detailed enough to allow people to comment on this -- there were no plans published by Network Rail.
Arts Guild 'Beacon' Theatre -- The entrance for this is directly facing onto the extremely exposed waterfront. The building has been planned and built the wrong way round!
James Watt Dock Entrance/Sinclair Street junction -- an incredible feat of poor planning means there are two junctions right next to each other rather than a cross road with traffic lights, or heaven forbid, a roundabout.
The 'magic roundabout' at the junction of Larkfield Road/Cardwell Road -- Need I say more, surely an adult would not claim responsibility for this design? A roundabout sufficed for years before the 10-year old child of a road planner must have been given design authority.
These are only a few examples, but they demonstrate that those who get paid a relative fortune to produce these designs are either incapable of engaging properly with the people who use them, or that they simply don't care.
Given my experiences, I would guess it's both. It does however show how important public participation is in consultations, the more voices speaking up, the higher the chances of changing something. One would hope...
12/ My daughter is also a pupil at this school. She too has expressed her disappointment with the school because of the reasons already outlined in other letters. She came home today and asked to go to another school as the current situation is getting her down. She is in fourth year and may have another two plus years of comprehensive education to go. She is certainly about to embark upon a very important time in her education and could do without these problems distracting her.
Perhaps someone could enlighten me on the following:
It appears to me that another new school in the Inverclyde area, namely Notre Dame High School, Dunlop Street, Greenock, has been built exceptionally well and is catering efficiently with the pupil volume unless you know to the contrary. This school looks very impressive and I believe it only took in the pupils from the previous Notre Dame, albeit there maybe other pupils from the area who have moved there. Why does this school, on the face of it, appear to be much better in all aspects?
With regard to Clydeview Academy, why wasn't the school built to accommodate the pupils from two schools? Not enough money? How many more pupils attend this school in comparison to the previous school located there? I ask this because the school is in a ludicrous position for travelling to and from, having to avoid the many school buses, public service buses and parents’ cars in the nearby narrow and congested roads. These roads must be much more congested now than they were during the St Columba’s days. God help us when the snow and ice arrive!
Maybe this issue should be raised at a national level rather than locally. Do other areas of the UK suffer this and if so what was done to alleviate or solve the problems? This is utterly unacceptable and pupils at Clydeview Academy deserve better.
13/ I have written to Inverclyde Council several times with regard to Clydeview’s overcrowding issue. Prior to my last letter, I contacted Education Scotland to find out what to do if I was not satisfied with the stock answers I am repeatedly receiving. Education Scotland gave me an e-mail address to which I could write and express my concerns,
. They also put me in touch with the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. I have spoken to Paul Campbell here and he informed me that Inverclyde Council should have told me the procedure when you have a complaint; needless to say they had not. The procedure is as follows, firstly you must write to Inverclyde Council Education Department. If you are unsatisfied with their reply you must then write to Corporate Communications, Municipal Buildings, Greenock. If again you are unsatisfied you can then contact the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman and ask if they would be willing to take your case. This body deals with financial mismanagement and may not be able to correct all the wrongs of Inverclyde Council but they do have the ability to pose some very awkward questions to them and lean towards some sort of solution.
I, as a parent of two children in Clydeview am very sad to read the comments of pupils attending the school complaining bitterly of the situation. It is appalling that this school was allowed to accommodate so many children over-capacity.
Hope this helps
Another angry parent
14/ A few weeks ago, I telephoned Clydeview Academy to ask about the kids getting lockers. I was told that this was a fairly labour-intensive project to organise (?) and it would take some time BUT I was assured that all pupils would get their very own locker. Today my daughter arrives home with a letter asking whether she would like to 'share' a locker! Yet again another fine mess by our so called 'planners'.
15/ I am a parent of two pupils who attend Clydeview Academy. Every day I am astounded to hear about my daughters complaining about lunchtimes. Most days they are eating lunch in the canteen with their food on their knees and some days standing on their feet. On more than one occasion my youngest daughter has come home to tell me she has had no lunch because queues are too long and there is not enough time allocated.
A possible solution for improvements to these unacceptable conditions is to separate fifth and sixth years into the assembly hall with the remaining years allocated to the canteen. This I feel will improve the situation with seating for pupils and it will also enable relationships to build between pupils from the [amalgamated] schools.
16/ I am a current sixth year pupil at Clydeview Academy. I completely agree with all the issues raised above and I believe that the school was not thought out properly. Firstly, the "common room" for Sixth Years is equipped with seats and two small tables. It really only fits around one third of the year, leaving the rest of the year to overspill out of the common room (blocking the stairs up to the second floor and the doors through to English/Art) and along the balcony outside the library.
I hear people complaining about the lunch situation, constantly moaning about having to wait in queues that take up a lot of room in the social area downstairs. There's no structure to the lunch queues and, as soon as you get your lunch, you are expected to rush and finish it, clear the table and let others sit down, allowing a small amount of time to actually eat your lunch.
The lockers situation, in my opinion, is shocking. From what I have heard, younger years have already been given the opportunity to fill out a form requesting a locker. We got forms out today, saying if we were definitely wanting a locker, we are having to SHARE with another pupil. How can a school expect two Sixth Years to share a SMALL locker and try to fit A4 folders in them, most of the Sixth Years having four ring binders. Once shared lockers have been allocated, only then will the school look at allocating single lockers, IF they have enough. On the letter we received today, it said "a draw may take place to decide their allocation", referring to single lockers being given out. How on earth can the school give single lockers out to younger years and expect the older years to share, when we are lugging about folders for the whole day.
Classroom sizes are okay, but there is a business class being taken in an ICT room built for 20, with 29 pupils in it. I was looking forward to the amalgamation of the two schools but being in the school and experiencing it has changed my mind.
17/ I, like many others, have been writing and complaining to Inverclyde Council about this situation. Following the comments on this forum and speaking to several parents it gets worse and worse! Fifth year pupils who had chosen French for a Higher and started the year studying towards it were told during a lesson that there were too many students sitting it, they had to reduce the numbers and were looking for volunteers to drop out! Where in the rest of the UK would you find kids having to be asked to drop out of part of their education? As the parents of the children attending Clydeview we need to continue the pressure on the council until something is done and next year it should be made clear that the school is fit to bursting and no child outwith catchment or swapping from denominational school to non-denominational school should be allowed in.
Let’s hope that someone, somewhere in the powers that be, HMI or Government, will hear our plea and do something about this mess.
18/ I have also been concerned by the overcrowding at Clydeview Academy. My understanding is that the school has been built to cope with the projected roles of the pre-amalgamation schools; which was based upon the roles in the "feeder primaries" and the year groups already in secondary education that were expected to transfer when planning began. However, because of the inability (largely because of the rulings of the courts) of the council to cap those schools to only the pupils from the feeders, they had rolls far higher than should have been the case. So surely room should be made in our local school by moving those pupils that should be in the under-capacity Inverclyde Academy in to the school that was designed to accommodate them.
Although to be honest I am a bit disappointed that parents did not take action at the time the proposals were made by the last council, particularly considering the success experienced by parents in Notre Dame and St Columba's who campaigned to keep schools. I thought that two schools could have been viable; instead it appears it has been left too late for people to react. I have never understood why nobody appeared to object way back in 2005...
Concerned Resident from Gourock
19/ My kids are now out of high school, (thankfully) having been moved from Wellington Acadamy to Greenock High and then to Inverclyde Academy all inside a year; great for kids studying for the most important stage of their lives. I therefore have great sympathy for the parents and pupils now merged into this monstrosity of a school, or concrete sardine block. Combining so many kids was always going to be a big ask. Evidently its now proving to be a case of ‘like it or lump it’. I recently came up the hill to the front gate of this school and had to stop at a give-way. Who agreed to change the priority at this junction? At least in the winter when it is snowing you had half a chance to continue round the bend on to Reservoir Road. We will be in the hands of the gods when buses or lorries have to give way at this junction when it is snowing. Best of luck to the future users of this road.
I wonder if the Health and Safety executive have any jurisdiction on what’s going on within this building, and I wonder what an emergency evacuation would be like during a power cut.
Oh and as so many rights are dictated and bestowed upon us from European authority, are our kids actually having their rights honoured here?
20/ I too have a son attending Clydeview Academy and I am extremely angry about the overcrowding at this school. I took the opportunity to view both Clydeview Academy and Notre Dame High Schools at the weekend Doors Open Days and it was like chalk and cheese. Notre Dame has been built to accommodate the amount of children who are NOW attending the school rather than in five years! I have never heard of anything so ludicrous in my life! All based on someone literally guessing what the situation will be in five years. No-one knows what will happen in this time and the gentleman who showed us around Notre Dame who works for the PPP even commented that local estate agents have had a surge of clients looking to move in to the catchment area for Clydeview Academy. There is a locker for every child at Notre Dame and extra! My son is carting two school bags full of heavy books with him to school every day. With health and safety going mad in our day and age surely this is a major issue for children having to do this. Children should also be discouraged from having to leave the building for their lunch but it is becoming quite apparent that they are having no choice if they want something to eat! This situation cannot continue and us parents must find a way of having this shambles sorted out once and for all. We owe it to our children.
21/ The lack of faith and vision that the council coalition troubles me. They have built a school that is too small for current needs. They defend their position by stating that the school roll is scheduled to fall and that the school will be able to then cope with the reduction in numbers. Is this not tacit recognition that they have failed and that they view the district as being in continual irreversible decline...certainly not a view that I share with them!
22/ I am also a parent of two kids in Clydeview and am alarmed at the situation. I am deeply concerned about the overcrowding on the stairwells and the canteen area, not to mention the classrooms. My First Year son comments on missing part of his classes because of the time it takes to negotiate round the stairs etc to get to his class. What are the school doing to address this? Will they take this into account when kids fail exams because of lack of classroom help time? I think not.
And the break times; I view these times as important also as a time to socialise and make new friends. Not sure how kids can achieve this if they are being moved on and have nowhere to be able to spend any quality time.
Very disappointed by Inverclyde Education for not handling this correctly.
23/ When the decision was made by Inverclyde Council to go ahead with the school now known as Clydeview Academy - knowing that it was going to be over-capacity for several years - surely the council/Education Department should have stopped granting placing requests.
It is my understanding that many placing requests were still granted in previous years - and indeed ALL placing requests for this new term were granted. This is absolute madness.
Certainly all placing requests for Clydeview Academy should not be granted in future, however, I also feel that placing requests to primary schools associated with Clydeview should not be granted as, unless the child and family move in future, this is going to lead to another placing request when the child moves to secondary education.
I sympathise with parents who do not wish their child to attend the school nearest them (and appreciate many of them may be trying to move to a different area), however it makes sense to not grant any further requests.
The amount of comments on this forum are increasing hour by hour -- it will be interesting to see if anyone from the council or Education Dept actually bothers to add their comments.
From a concerned Parent - who is sick of the sound of his own voice, moaning about this
24/ Like all the previous letters on this subject, I totally agree with everything that has been said about this shambles of a school.
My son who started First Year has told me that it is horrendous trying to get something to eat at lunchtime and most of them have now given up and just take packed lunches. Even with that solution you are battling against the odds to find a seat to actually eat the stuff and if you do, you get about 10 minutes to scoff it down before you are 'thrown' off so someone else can join the fun!!!!.
The corridors apparently when the classes are changing over are like the annual migration of the wildebeest, and even one of my son's classes is out in an alcove and other pupils are having to walk through them when they are trying to learn!!!!!. My son was doing exceptionally well in primary school and no way will I allow his secondary education to suffer because of all this.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, I am in the process of finding out just how many placements were approved for this school as I believe this is part of the problem of overcrowding. We have pupils from Wemyss Bay, Inverkip, Cumberland /Auchmead Road and God knows where else going to this school - WHY ???
Surely all the pupils from these areas should be going to Inverclyde Academy. If people wish to live where they do, then they should be made to send their children to the designated school in that area. Why should the pupils who are 100per cent entitled to go to Clydeview Academy have to suffer from overcrowding, lack of proper classroom facilities etc. because our councillors/education chiefs don't want bad publicity if they refuse any requests.
Instead of always appearing in the local paper with their big 'cheesy' grins pretending everything in the garden is rosy, why don't they organise a public meeting so all parents/pupils are allowed to express their concerns over this ever-increasing list of complaints/faults.
Oh by the way, don't arrange for it to be in the school - It's too SMALL !!!!
Graham - Concerned Parent - Greenock
25/ While Clydeview Academy has opened at over-capacity, the school can and is working with the current pupil roll. The school has been granted all building warranties and habitation certificates to show the building is safe for all who use it. The school has been built to a very high standard which includes a larger floor area than similar role-sized schools in neighbouring local authorities. All pupils have been timetabled and all class sizes are in line with associated regulations and agreements. All placing requests for Clydeview Academy were granted in line with the Council’s Policy on Admission and Pupil Placement in Mainstream Schools (2009).
As is the case in all schools, the lunch area is busy. Lunch arrangements in Clydeview Academy have been closely monitored over the last four weeks and changes and adaptations to lunchtime arrangements have been made as a result. I can confirm that lunch in Clydeview Academy is served to all pupils by 1pm. Extra tables and chairs have been provided for the lunch area including additional tables/chairs to accommodate 50 pupils being provided this week. The Assembly Hall has been opened this week for pupils who have a packed lunch. The catering staff are responding to pupil demand for lunches and this week have put in place arrangements to serve the most popular dish (pasta) from two serving areas rather than one.
Planned arrangements for the allocation of student lockers have been communicated to parents/carers this week.
I wish to reassure you that Clydeview Academy will continue to provide a high quality education for all of its pupils within an excellent state-of-the-art learning environment.
Albert Henderson, Corporate Director Education and Communities, Inverclyde Council
26/ I would like to comment as follows regarding the current situation at Clydeview Academy.
1. I moved into the catchment area for Clydeview Academy as that is where I wanted my children to be educated. I pay higher council tax as a result. I am in agreement with previous comments that, if the school had reached the projected roll, why were placing requests allowed? This is disgraceful. I have no objection to placing requests being granted provided that the building is designed to accommodate the extra pupils and not to the detriment of pupils in the catchment area, as is obviously the case at present.
2. I do not believe any criticism should be directed at the school. The head teacher and staff have been given the building and basically told to get on with it. It is not their fault that problems we could foresee early in the year have materialised; they must be as disappointed as the parents.
3. I would like reassurance that my children’s education is not affected by this unacceptable situation. I am not interested in lockers or meals, but what actually happens in the classroom as this is where it will be decided if my children reach their full potential. I hope the Education Department have not let them down.
27/ Mr Henderson [Comment 25], thank you for actually taking the time to comment, however, whilst you are clearly more informed on the education of Inverclyde than myself, I can tell you categorically on this occasion you are WRONG!
My son's education is suffering because of this poorly thought out project! Who on earth thought it was a good idea, or indeed an acceptable idea, to build a school and accommodate it with an additional 250 pupils?! Twenty-six per cent over-populated and you say it is working and is safe?!
Mr Henderson I challenge you to come to my house any afternoon and see how anxious my son is after a day at this school with little or no food, wet because there isn’t enough space to stand indoors, having half a lesson because the science class for example is being taught in a music room and then tell me the school is working and his studies aren't suffering!!
Better still arrange to meet with some of the people posting on this thread at break times and lunchtimes at the school and tell us when we see the mayhem firsthand that this school is working!
This school is nothing short of a disgrace and it is high time someone put their head above the parapet and said 'we got it wrong, now we will fix it' rather than spouting the same corporate rubbish we have heard since this project was first proposed!
28/ Having just read Mr Henderson's reply [Comment 25] to these comments, my blood is boiling! He is completely ignoring the children whose lives this is affecting. He tells us everything is great, whilst the children of Clydeview are loudly and clearly saying it is not. I am heartened to see so many people with the same opinions as me and hope that a public meeting can be arranged to deal with these issues. Come on Mr Henderson, Councillor Loughran and company -- are you big enough to meet our demands? If and when this meeting can be arranged I propose you all bring tin hats because it may be a bumpy ride!
Another Angry Parent
29/ It would appear [Comment 25] that the situation is resolved as pasta is being served twice a week (!) much to the relief of students, parents and staff at the school. Now I quite like pasta but I fail to see it curing the problems of overcrowding, the lack of seating areas, individual lockers and congestion of stairways.
Now in my simplest perspective, if you construct a building with a capacity of 950 plus staff and then try to accommodate 1200 that means something in the region of 25 per cent-plus ( long time out of school so forgive me not getting it accurate although in my defence I have achieved a greater awareness than the Education department).
Why could temporary accommodation not have been in place until the school roll had lowered to the expected level? This could have allowed a more flexible approach if the enrolment numbers remained above the school’s capacity.
As well as sympathies with the pupils who seem to be herded, one can only hope they take this experience into their working lives to ensure they are not guilty of as many errors as those currently responsible for this lack of foresight.
The staff are also unwitting accomplices in this situation -- no doubt the catering staff are working hard -- did the design also overlook a larger kitchen area and enough staff to cope with the extra numbers? Will they not be exposed to unnecessary pressure to ensure that each pupil is allowed enough time to receive and consume their lunch? The teaching staff must have concerns about the congestion during class changeovers, from lost teaching time to the safety of pupils.
So come on Education Authority why not get all proactive like those staggering menu changes?
30/ I am sitting reading this thread on Clydeview Academy and am absolutely disgusted. I have already written to Mr Henderson with concerns I have since the school opened and received several replies back quoting the usual political /corporate nonsense.
My son is in fourth year of the school. My main issues are:
- Fourth year pupils are sitting their preliminary exams in a matter of weeks yet his class still has no Chemistry teacher in place. Despite advertising and interviewing, no-one has been found to be suitable. This is not acceptable -- pupils sitting exams this year need teachers to prepare them.
- My son's Chemistry class is being held in a French classroom without the proper equipment and without a permanent teacher.
- His Biology class as so far been held in the library but today has moved to an English classroom, again -- neither have the correct equipment.
- He has missed lunch on several occasions and now takes a packed lunch to ensure he eats during the day.
- Lack of storage is a problem for the amount of books and a musical instrument he takes to school, carrying it all back and forward each day.
- Travel arrangements for the school are a disaster. People have been "discouraged" from dropping pupils at the back entrance to the school in Mallard Crescent. But on a cold, wet autumn day, I don't want my son walking any more than he needs to with his heavy bags and a musical instrument. Mallard Crescent has been a disaster zone between 8.30 and 8.50am; cars are bumping on pavements, buses are getting stuck -- someone is going to get hurt.
- Originally there was to be a safe drop-off zone created with road access from Lyle Road. This was scrapped because of financial constraints. The next alternative was the removal of houses / flats on Mallard Crescent to create a drop off point -- this has not happened -- don't know if it is still to go ahead.
- There has been a drop-off lay-by put in, just at the back gate, suitable for two cars at a time -- this week I have noticed that members of staff are now using that as a parking space (despite a staff car park being provided). It must be staff as the cars have been there for the duration of the school day. This has led to even greater congestion.
I have written to four councillors about this, over a month ago; only one has bothered to come back to me, with a standard letter (no answers). The councillors are all over us when they are up for election - now we need help and support they are nowhere to be seen.
This is our children's education we are talking about here. They only get one chance at it!
We need a public meeting to allow parents to ask these questions and get answers from the council officers and councillors - and a parent council who will start holding these officials to account.
Let's be radical - what about getting all 5th and 6th year pupils transported to Notre Dame (which is way under capacity) to get them through their Highers, until the school roll shrinks to a size which can be accommodated?
Angry, Frustrated and Concerned Parent
31/ Dear Mr Henderson [Comment 25]
Are you actually reading the comments of the PUPILS - the people who are actually experiencing this day in day out or is this another case of children are only heard when they say the correct things?
If you read their comments you will see that unfortunately they are clearly not happy! As a former teacher, how do you expect to stimulate and educate children who haven't ate or are soaking wet! I don't need to tell you, I would hope, that children who go into class more interested in how hungry they are, are not going to fully engage with the learning intended!
What is wrong with saying ‘okay we know there is a problem and we are working toward a solution’? How hard is that?
Wait with bated breath for another non-personal council response! Stick to the council line and it will all blow over!
Ex Teacher who hopes Inverclyde Council can see the wood for the trees for a change!
32/ May I remind contributors to this thread that Clydeview Academy belongs to the people of Inverclyde. It does not belong to people from specific areas of Inverclyde. I also remind them that the law is the law. Pupils from outwith the catchments area of Clydeview Academy have every right in law to attend that school.
What makes me think there is a hidden agenda at work? Are some parents simply trying to keep poorer children from poorer areas out of this school? As I said, the law is the law and the majority of parents in Inverclyde support Mr. Henderson. [Comment 25]
My son leaves primary school next year. I may well apply for a placement request to Clydeview Academy. If it is refused I WILL take the council to court and I reckon I will win the case. And I reckon ALL parents in the same position will do likewise. They have that right in law.
Snootery and social divison has no place in our PUBLIC/STATE education system.
33/ Further to Mr Henderson's statement [Comment 25], there is no indication that he believes there are any problems at the new school. This is a very arrogant stance to take. Parents and pupils are telling you that all is not well at the school and the least you could do is acknowledge that there are problems and reassure us all that they are being at least reviewed, if not solved.
From the statement it is also clear that he believes it is acceptable to have children squashed into the school like sardines. If this is the case, then save the local tax-payers a fortune and merely transfer all St Columba’s High School pupils into Notre Dame with immediate effect.
34/ In reply to Mr Bowes’s comments [Comment 32], read the posts! This has nothing to do with social division or any other hidden agenda! This is purely about a school that was built too small and is not serving the needs of the pupils who attend, some of the contributors on here are pupils themselves! It is about kids not getting taught, not getting fed and not even having somewhere to shelter out of the rain! Your comments are inaccurate and unhelpful in this case! Oh and finally my youngest son also leaves primary next year, so don't bother taking the council to court to get your son into Clydeview Academy, I will happily swap schools with my son rather than sending him to this school!
35/ Snootery'? [Comment 32] What on earth is that?
Here's the problem. It's precisely because of such a 'chip-on-the-shoulder attitude' and the fact that some sections of the community are perhaps less loud-mouthed and bellicose than others, that this mess has occurred and that two fine educational establishments have disappeared. In Inverclyde, he who shouts loudest seems to prevail. That's why our kids are shoe-horned into a £27million merged campus and half that number are rattling around one which cost £2million more.
Mr Bowes, don't kid yourself that if you 'WILL take the council to court' you will necessarily succeed in your objective. There's already inadequate space for your child and no matter what a sheriff decrees, if the over-capacity continues then the Council will have to come up with additional accommodation or rethink the whole school estate’s travesty. That's not going to happen overnight, regardless of what people who don't give a damn about others, get from a court ruling. So you'll have a long wait until the sheriff's judgement can be carried out.
The fact is, Mr Bowes, that your area of Inverclyde, wherever that be, provides a perfectly good school for your child. It strikes me that it is you who is guilty of 'snootery' because you seem to think that Clydeview is somehow further up the social pecking order than other schools. Grow up.
36/ I would like to add my tuppence worth to the debate, having read all the posts here and Mr Henderson's attempt to placate the parent body/public.
My son goes to Clydeview Academy and seems to be happy enough with his lot there. Yes he is concerned about the lack of locker space, the overcrowding in the social areas and so on but he has got to sit his Highers this year and is prepared to knuckle down and work. I'm not sure bussing Fifth and Sixth Years out of their school is the answer; surely they are entitled to stay with the staff they have got to know over four or five years?
All this negative talk is actually detrimental. Please everyone give the school a chance and the staff the respect they deserve, they are working well to get the teething problems ironed out and making the best of a poor situation.
On the question of placing requests, in my opnion they are also detrimental in general and should not ever have been put into Scottish Law. They have created an elitist education system which was never part of our great Scottish school system. If children went to the schools in their own areas there would be a necessary cross section of social groups and educational abilities in every school. Then we would not have the perception that one school is better than another, every child in the 21st century should be entitled to access the same education wherever they live. Instead we have senseless posts like that of John Bowes saying he would take Inverclyde Council to court in order to excercise his misguided opinion; it's that kind of thinking that has caused the problem of overcrowding in the first place.
'Trying to be positive' of Gourock
37/ I read all comments and have a degree of sympathy for you pupils. I live a five minute walk from Cydeview. My child has just started fourth year; by the time he leaves school he will have been educated in three different buildings. He is a pupil at St Columba’s located in the old Greenock High. To date he has received an excellent education through the decant, with another one on the horizon. No one at St Columba’s wanted this for our children; maybe a solution to your problem would be to swap schools. The Greenock High building is large with plenty of room and Clydeview is a perfect size for us. No I dont think that would happen. Our pupils have had more disruption than any other pupils in Inverclyde. They are coping very well, achieving good results and looking forward to our final move. Yes I agree the council should re-think placing requests. I would also like to point out the discomfort your pupils are having is the only one they have had, and as the year groups move on your problems will lessen.
A Happy St Columba’s parent
38/ Clearly there is something wrong here. The Council/Education Department is not listening to Clydeview parents or pupils. Why not? It was most interesting to read [Council leader] Stephen McCabe’s letter in the Greenock Telegraph this evening, where he talked about his ambition to (and I quote) “provide our children and young people with better schools so they can realise their potential”. Well Mr McCabe’s ambition may have reached some schools in the area but it certainly hasn’t stretched as far as the boundary between Greenock and Gourock at the Mallard Bowl. The situation at Clydeview Academy is nothing better than a farce. The elephant in the room here is that Gourock High and Greenock Academy should never have been amalgamated. It seems that the children at non-denominational Clydeview Academy are being treated as second-class citizens and the Education Department is ignoring their situation. Why? Overcrowding, (and still taking placing requests!) classes being held in corridors, classes being held in alcoves in the library, classes being held in unsuitable rooms, no teacher! -- pupils having to shove their food down their neck, nowhere to shelter outside. Tell us Mr. McCabe would you be happy for your children to be taught in a school where things like that happen? Let me answer that for you - No, you wouldn’t. Why doesn’t someone from the Education Department go along to Clydeview at break times or even for a whole day to see the chaos that has been foisted upon our children. Remember Councillors, the parents of pupils at Clydeview have a vote also.
A very angry and disgusted parent
39/ To: Mr John Bowes [Comment 32]
Are you actually being seriously? Parents who have children in this school are complaining by the dozen about the lack of facilities for the ridiculously over-crowded school yet you seem to think this is some kind of stitch-up? Read the other comments from parents and children who attend this school -- does it look as though Clydeview is the place to send children for their education just now? Simply answer is no! No agenda -- they just want a school that can adequately cope with the numbers of pupils they are trying to educate.
40/ Unfortunately, Mr Bowes [Comment 32] is correct ... he will be able to make a placing request, which will probably succeed, given that Mr Henderson issued a missive some time ago stating quite clearly that, based on the 'results' of a mock timetabling exercise, Clydeview Academy could function perfectly well with a greater pupil population than that for which the school was intended to accommodate. I don't think this mock timetable took account of social space and catering arrangements.
Professional educators (i.e. teachers) knew perfectly well at that time that this was not the case and that pupils would be disadvantaged in various ways in the new school.
Mr Bowes would be foolish to make a placing request for Clydeview Academy. It has nothing to do with 'snootery', but everything to do with quality of educational experience. However, should he decide to go down this road, then he must refrain from complaining in the future when his child's educational experience is less than satisfactory.
41/ Inverclyde education authority have again said ‘everything will be okay’ at Clydeview Academy. How can they be wrong? Twenty per cent (plus) overcapacity on pupil numbers is not a problem, Within three years this will be less. [Still five per cent (plus) overcapacity without placement requests.]
What business person runs their business like this? (If they did they would be sacked!)
Later, when the results show that their ‘business model’ for this school is not producing the academic results enjoyed by the two schools it replaced, we will hear “it wisnae me” from the local authority side. However, by that time it will be too late to help those of our children currently going through the school.
My advice to Mr John Bowes is try for a placement for your child at Clydeview Academy if you wish. You are welcome to it. However, you will probably find your child is ‘better off’ elsewhere.
42/ I have no vested interest in this other than being a former pupil of Greenock Academy. It is with utter dismay and disgust that I read Mr Henderson's response [Comment 25]. It is also beyond belief that this new school project has so evidently been so badly managed.
To Mr Henderson -- your boilerplate response to this horrific situation is something pulled out of "spin, crisis management, and fobbing-off the public for dummies". The problem for you though, is that the people you are responding to, are NOT dummies. And they are not likely to stand for such a pathetic, spineless, and glib response. I assume you are now very aware of this, but also are under the misguided impression that you can ride the storm and the issue will eventually disappear. You are likely incorrect.
I think it's absolutely vital that you take a moment -- right now -- to remember that you are a public servant. You are employed by the grace of the people of Inverclyde, and you are answerable to them indirectly. Therefore, I invite you to actually answer them openly and honestly. You have currently failed to do so in an acceptable manner. I think you will find that the people of Inverclyde expect you to answer, and are unlikely to give up until you do.
To Inverclyde Council -- you have a clear duty here. It's time for you to step up and do that duty. You too serve at the pleasure of the people of Inverclyde. You do so directly, by popular vote. You are accountable to the people of Inverclyde for your actions and inactions. It is important that you too take a moment to remember this. Many of you have touted education as your highest priority. Yet, the design of this school seems to render that promise beyond worthless. There are obvious competency questions here, and you absolutely must answer for the current state of your Education Department. One could almost forgive trying to cram 300 extra pupils into too small a space in the short run, but to so completely fail to provide adequate locker space is apparently just ignorant sloppiness.
To the people of Inverclyde -- it's perhaps science fiction to even consider for one second that justice will be done here. Sure, there'll probably be some sort of sweeping-it-under-the-carpet type of inquiry. Lessons learned, blah, blah, blah -- the usual spin and corporate/public sector garbage. However, you don't need to accept this. I urge you -- no matter which political party you support -- to vote out the current council at the next elections. It's pretty much the only way they learn, pretty much the only way you can excise your democratic rights. It's clear that the current administration is not serving our needs. If they can't figure out how many lockers they need in a new school, they are good for nothing. That's patently obvious.
To the pupils of Clydeview Academy -- I'm sad to hear about your situation. Gourock High and Greenock Academy were once great schools. It's a disgrace that you should have these important years of your lives made a mockery of by indolent and inadequate politicians. Perhaps the important lesson you can learn here, is that our politicians, our local government, our public sector, is simply not good enough. Perhaps some of you can change this in the years to come. At the very least, you should now know you can never, EVER, trust a politician -- no matter what they say, no matter which party they are from.
43/ While I appreciate the comments made by both parents and pupils above, I would like to point out that these are not new problems. I attended Greenock Academy for six years and in that time I never saw a day where the canteen queue wasn't halfway up the south wing and the average waiting time to be served was 20/25 minutes.
We too had a lot more pupils than lockers. They were allocated on first come, first serve - when they were gone, they were gone - personally a half would have suited me much better than the alternative which was zero!
As for space, the corridors were always busy between classes and more than one of us suffered the occasional bang on the head from being shoved into a wall.
Please don't think that I'm trying to tell anyone at Clydeview to 'get over it' - but more to the point why have the council spent all that time and money building a 'new' school with exactly the same problems and MORE pupils?
Former GA pupil.
44/ Perhaps Mr Bowes [Comment 32] can enlighten me as to why he would want to send his son to an overcrowded school with inadequate facilites, not enough classrooms and not enough teachers.
Does he not want the best for his son? The comments being made on this board are by pupils and parents, myself included, who are being affected now by these issues. His comments are way off the mark and have nothing to do with the current problems at the school.
45/ In response to some of the parents concerned re Clydeview Academy…. they have actually shot themselves in the foot, particularly ones who chose to get a placement to that school rather than decant and have that upheaval or go to their local school as its deemed unsuitable by their own opinion… So they were quick enough to put in that request. Granted the council should have had a mechanism to say STOP when the school was going to be at full roll ….and it’s a pity for the kids who all should go to that school without placement requests. So all you folk whose kids should have gone elsewhere, aka some St Columba’s (non-decant folk), some Inverclyde Academy (not wanting my child to go there folk) and the ones from Kilmacolm (sheer snobbery) whereby Port Glagow isnt good enough…..hang your heads in shame.
46/ In reply to comment 35 let me enlighten. "Snootery" is derived from "snooter". That may be defined as follows. Stemming from the Italian "aiuto" or aiut (pronounced eye-yoot) for short, the term snooter began as snoot, rhyming with aiut (as in snoot aiut). It was later changed to snooter or "the snooter". Being "the snooter" or "snooty" implies a certain contrarian approach or lack of conformity to one’s surroundings or life in general. Let me illustrate the word in a sentence: The snooter was excited about his new smartphone and fleece clothing until he found them on sale at Poundstretcher. I hope that explains it. I always knew my Master Degree in Applied Social Studies would come in handy some day. And reader I attended a very good school - The Mount.
47/ I’m really disappointed with myself for not taking advantage of last weekend’s Clydeview Academy and Notre Dame open day. Did anyone manage to visit both schools and make a direct comparison? [See Comment 20]
My son and daughter are currently attending Clydeview Academy at fourth and sixth year and I’m very concerned by my son’s experiences and by all the comments on here by both pupils and parents. Why should 26 per cent overcapacity in Clydeview Academy be acceptable just because roll numbers are to fall in the future years? Are roll numbers in Notre Dame expected to stay the same or will they be 26 per cent under-used when Clydeview eventually becomes less crowded?
The comment [Comment 12} re someone’s daughter wanting to move schools is particularly disturbing.
Albert Henderson's miracle solution [Comment 25], pasta being served twice a week, are you having a laugh? Adding more tables and chairs to an already undersized room is also nonsense. Your non-acceptance of the problems blatantly obvious to everyone else is making you look blinkered and delusional.
Prefabricated temporary accommodation is not the same as the cold draughty wooden efforts of the past (Gourock High 1970s) and can be as plush and efficient as the main building itself. They are often used in the harsh elements of the North Sea and can more than cope with anything Inverclyde’s weather can throw at them. Mr. Henderson I suggest you address the overcrowding now and not bury your head in your building warranties and habitation certificates hoping the problem will go away. Get down there and see it for yourself.
48/ At this particular time when our council is struggling financially, it will be very difficult for them to sort out the problems that we have at Clydeview Academy. However one solution to this disaster could be to open up again either Gourock High or Greenock Academy for either the senior or junior school pupils.
Now before they say we have no money, they could afford this by making some easy savings -- they could merge two schools, Notre Dame and St Columba’s High School, into the better built and under-capacity school on Dunlop Street. From what people have said Notre Dame High School on Dunlop Street is big enough to take both schools without being overcrowded.
By having this merger they would save the millions they were going to spend on the refurbishment of Gourock High School.
This idea of keeping Gourock High or Greenock Academy open for the few years until the occupancy of Clydeview is reduced to 950 pupils would be a short-term solution that would work.
At the end of the day the education of our pupils at Clydeview Academy must come first as is with all our school children in Inverclyde.
Unfortunately for some reason the education and the welfare of the pupils attending Gourock High and Greenock Academy was not considered when they built a school which was always known to be too small.
49/ Mr Bowes, I'm glad your masters degree in applied social studies is helping you out [Comment 46], however I too can do a simple Google search and quote direct from 'the urban dictionary' and I don't have a masters degree! However if you feel the need to quote such authorities, please give the full quote rather than the bits that suit your argument! I'm sure you know want I mean. Anyway it is off topic so to put it to rest, The Oxford Dictionary, 'the' authority on all things words’, says snootery isn't a word! Let's get back to the real point here the discussion about a poorly planned school!
50/ Well, well, well. How very interesting that the parents of both Greenock Academy and Gourock High School are now coming out of the woodwork and flexing their muscles -- a bit late if you ask me.
When the proposed amalgamation of these two 'superschools' was first put forward why didn’t they shout out then? Because they were terrified that, God forbid, their little darlings might have to share a school with pupils from Greenock High or Wellington Academy, so they decided to say nothing or very little. Their fear that West End children or Gourock children would have to be educated with their peers from poorer areas was unthinkable, and so they now reap the reward of their silence!
Parents and parent council of Notre Dame and St Columba’s voiced their concerns about the two schools being amalgamated loudly. They involved outside agencies (ie Church and Arch Diocese), they held numerous meetings and eventually convinced the Education Authority that they should both retain their own school and identity. That is why Notre Dame is not overcrowded.
51/ As a parent of a Port Glasgow High School pupil, I would like to vouch for the excellent quality of the temporary accomodation in place on the interim campus here. It is of a much better standard than any part of the St Stephen’s building. I see no reason why Inverclyde Council cannot immediately provide Clydeview Academy with similar to alleviate some of the problems.
On the other hand I was unsurprised to read Albert Henderson's dismissal of your concerns [Comment 25]. It appears to be standard policy at Inverclyde Council to dismiss parents' concerns as I have seen both with Newark Primary (far too small, not fit for purpose) and now Port Glasgow High School (poorer facilities, unwilling to confirm adequate space will be made for pupils).
Port High Parent
52/ Part of any successful project is addressing the problems of the past. As one former pupil of Greenock Academy expressed [Comment 43] these problems were endemic of the old school, so to be faced with similar problems again highlights a lack of understanding in the first place.
For those who do apply for placements to the school, I do not believe the complaints are a conspiracy to keep pupils outwith the catchment area out. The concern is not about this perceived influx of these extra pupils but the suitability of the school to manage the over-capacity and how accurate the long-term forecast the Education department have used is.
The biggest question has to be why Mr Henderson did not contemplate using temporary accommodation to house the extra pupils which would have allowed the installation of the necessary amount of lockers etc. What is the cause of the backlog in the canteen, is it the lack of seating area that is causing the delays or is it the serving area?
I do think it calls for a more personal response from Mr Henderson than a few lines that amount to ‘move along, nothing to see here’.
53/ The Education Department of Inverclyde Council has a duty to spend taxpayers' money fairly and equitably -- for the benefit of all children in Inverclyde. Each and every child in this area is entitled to the same quality of educational experience.
Consider the following;
More than 1,200 pupils packed like sardines into the £27 million Clydeview Academy equates to an appoximate spend per child of £22,500.
Around 800 pupils in the new £29 million Notre Dame equates to an appoximate spend per child of £36,250.
Perhaps as few as 500 pupils from St Columba's will move into a newly refurbished Gourock High at a cost of £15 million, equating to an approximate spend per child of £30,000
It is time to invite some comment on this issue from outside Inverclyde.
An angry parent
54/ What a bitter contribution from 'CPA Gourock'. [Comment 50] Greenock Academy was made up of a roll which comprised of almost 50 per cent placement requests from outside the catchment area -- absolutely nothing elitist there. Concerns were expressed and complaints made about the merger proposals. However, reluctantly we accepted in good faith the assurances from Inverclyde Council that this merger would provide a better educational environment for our children. As I am sure you are aware, parents who send their children to non-denominational schools cannot call on the Catholic Church or Archdiocese to intervene on their behalf. We gave the council the opportunity to fulfill their promises and they have let us down. Now we will fight our own battles.
An angry parent.
55/ A question to CPA Gourock [Comment 50]. If Notre Dame is not overcrowded, then ask yourself why has it been built with the extra space when it wasn't needed? Could it be that the council’s long term plan is to take St Columba's pupils from their site in Gourock to Dunlop Street for a merge? As for your comment 'children would have to be educated with their peers from poorer areas was unthinkable, and so they now reap their reward', I have to say nobody in any of the previous comments has said such a thing, so really at the end of the day you are quite a sad person to say such a thing and dare I say it - you are the snob! And for your information children from all over Inverclyde have attended both schools over the years - not just this year.
56/ After much deliberation and viewing all the comments made, I feel I have to comment on some of the views being expressed here.
I currently have two children who attend Clydeview Academy, one in first year and another who transferred from Gourock High. I have a high regard for the teachers from both schools, being an ex-Greenock Academy pupil myself, and was excited at the prospect of the amalgamation of two of the best schools (in my opinion) in Inverclyde.
My child in first year was granted a successful placing request as I have an older child in the school. I refuse to apologise for this as I have the right, as does every parent in the district, to apply for a placing request if I so wish. I stay 100 yards outwith the catchment area and only 1.4 miles away from the school. Just to note, I actually stay closer to the school than the old Greenock Academy building which is exactly two miles away!
I also have issues with classrooms in the corridors, hectic lunch times and the lack of specialised classrooms which cater for the subjects in question, but I find some comments quite offensive and personal, especially posts 24 and 26. I was not made aware Clydeview Academy was for privileged children only, whose parents pay higher council taxes and have the right to attend.
These comments have nothing to do with the actual problems this school is facing.
I went along to the information night last night for parents of First Year pupils and was very impressed with the wide range of subjects being taught and the conduct of both staff and pupils there, but did not hear anyone stand up and address any of these issues.
Let’s bring this topic back to the main issue of making our children’s education top priority and doing everything in our power to assist the teachers and [head teacher] Mr Todd with the great work they are doing and find a suitable solution for all our children.
57/ I’d like to agree with the previous poster who commented on CPA, Gourock’s bitter contribution [Comment 50]. However, at the same time I would like to thank CPA, Gourock for giving us all a general hint on how to get the best for our children from Inverclyde Council. CPA of Gourock has of course confirmed it in the post. It seems all you have to do is, shout loudly and get the Roman Catholic Church involved – the post confirms that after the parents of Notre Dame and St. Columba’s lobbied the council and got the RC Church involved they got their way and kept separate schools. So there you have it, it’s very easy, if only we’d known. BUT that is not the point at the moment, the point is what are Inverclyde Council going to do to fix the problems at Clydeview Academy which at the moment they seem to be sweeping under the carpet as if they didn’t exist.
A still very angry and disgusted parent
58/ My final comment on this matter. Regarding placing requests, there was no mention in any posts about social class or "snobbery" as a reason for not allowing placing requests. The issue is overcrowding and as stated previously I have no objection to placing requests PROVIDED the school can cope with the extra pupils. In particular there should be enough classrooms and social areas and it is quite clear from the previous posts on this site this is not the case. Be that as it may, the parents and pupils of Clydeview Academy have to move forward in unison, with one agenda only and that is to get the issues address and hopefully resolved for all concerned.
Upwards and Onwards
59/ Perhaps if Brian (Post 56) got off his little high horse and actually read the point I was trying to make (Post 24). I am not suggesting that Clydeview should only be for 'privileged children' , because I would not put my family in that category by a long shot. The point I was trying to make was that perhaps some of the reasons for the overcrowding may be down to the amount of placements that had been granted.
If other schools had space in them, then why did the children who live within the catchment areas of these schools not go there because at the end of the day these children are suffering as well. This has nothing to do with 'snobbery' just common sense!
For your information I too am a former pupil of the Academy and proud of it and the thought of the two best academic schools (result wise) joining forces was an excellent prospect for the future education of my son and if I think certain factors might be contributing to the failure to deliver this then I am entitled to express my thoughts.
This has nothing to do with 'class distinction', so concentrate on the issues at hand.
60/ Having now visited both schools (Notre Dame and Clydeview Academy) I totally agree with Paul , as Clydeview is in the region of 30 per cent over-subscribed. This also throws up health and safety issues with regards to if the school had to be vacated in a hurry; as I understand it the fire safety procedure has still not been tested. I would like to add that I am very surprised that more parents have not voiced their opinion via the local press. As for the council response that the school roll will fall in the next three years, this is the same argument that was used a number of years ago when Gourock Primary was built and it is still overcrowded. Use your vote wisely next year.
61/ With regard to the children's lunchtime; a lot of them have taken the step of leaving the school to find food. I work in a shop which has quite a crowd of kids walking a fair distance rather than suffer the queues. Might I add, what polite charming individuals they are. But what a shame, even in pouring rain, these kids feel that is what they must do. The children in Port Glasgow are going through a similar process waiting on a new school being built. I can only hope by the time my five-year-old reaches high school I don't have the same complaints. He is currently in Newark; a large but great school. This is a school with four primaries joined together but it works, as should have Clydeview if it had been built properly. Can only hope a solution can be found.
62/ The failure of Inverclyde Council to provide the parents and pupils of Clydeview with the opportunity to meet face to face is now ridiculous. We, the parents of the children, need now to move forward, possibly consider taking the council to court. Placing requests need to be refused entry to Clydeview at least until the school is providing the kids with the same learning opportunities and nurturing environment as every other child in Inverclyde. It is not "snobbery" or "social difference" -- it is in order that the kids who DO live in catchment and only have that school within walking and attending distance are not being victimised. Any other fair-minded body outwith this area looking at this farce would agree. Our children need our voices to be heard, keep up the pressure!
Father of two kids in catchment
63/ Seriously, the Greenock Academy did indeed have a high percentage of placement requests (many from the likes of teachers). I also point out that many children were from Kilmacolm (there is nothing wrong with Kilmalcolm, of course, but what I say is fact). It is also fact that many children in the GA came from Catholic schools (again, there is nothing wrong with that, it is simply fact). My point? Well, those who are condemning parents who are doing what they think is best for their children are frankly distasteful. As this is my last post on this topic, let me be truthful. I have no intention of seeking a placement request for my son. I have every confidence in the Inverclyde Academy. That is fact. I also believe the Clydeview Academy is a good school and I am certain the children, if they apply themselves, will do well. The Clydeview is obviously over-subscribed and I am sure Mr. Henderson will do his best to adapt the school to that. Again, I am certain the school has good teachers (I know it, given I have a relative teaching in it). Please remember that Mr. Henderson MUST work within the law. Like it or not, courts will grant placement requests. That is hardly Mr. Henderson’s fault.
64/ I'm afraid CPA is guilty of making assumptions based on complete ignorance. Many years ago the councillor responsible for Education (then) suggested to the Greenock Academy Parent Board that an amalgamation with Wellington Academy should be considered. The parents invited him to come back with detail (no knee-jerk rejection - no 'snootery') but, curiously, no further detail was furnished. Therefore, Inverclyde proceeded to formalise an amalgamation of GA and GHS. I don't remember any parent or pupil from either school asking for such an amalgamation. I can only remember a protest from parents at Notre Dame HS and St. Columba's HS against that proposed amalgamation. Was 'snootery' involved?
65/ As a concerned parent of two children who attend Clydeview Academy, I have read and considered all of the comments listed. I have to say, I agree with the majority of disgruntled parents/ students who bothered to voice their disapproval of the new school.
My eldest child started his secondary education at Greenock Academy and spent an enjoyable and fruitful four years there. As much as he and I were apprehensive about the transition to the new school, bearing in mind its size and projected role for this and the next few years, we decided to look at the positives and give it a chance. Unfortunately our fears were quickly realised.
I don’t think anyone (even the ever positive Mr Todd and Mr Henderson) can deny that the building is too small and greatly-overcrowded. My youngest son came home last week, starving, having had no lunch. I informed the school and was told that he should let someone know if it happens again but it should not have happened in the first place! Even when my youngest does manage to get a meal, he has yet to find a place to sit and eat, but carries his hot food as he walks around the lunch room or outside, eating as he goes. My eldest and his friends have admitted defeat and take a packed lunch which they eat wherever they can.
The more alarming concern I have was mentioned previously by another parent; the shortage of a Chemistry teacher. My son did very well at Standard Grade and chose Higher Chemistry as one of his five Highers. I thought all was well until he informed me that his course was being delivered by a Biology teacher as there was no Chemistry teacher available. I contacted the school and demanded an explanation only to be told that the post was advertised and would be filled ASAP. They have since managed to enlist a very capable “supply teacher “on a temporary basis who is retired and cannot commit long term but have now admitted that there is unlikely to be a permanent teacher any time soon. My son is one of nine Higher Chemistry students who will not benefit from the consistency and support of a specific teacher to see them through to their Higher exams. The school’s answer: to see if they can move my son into the other class because I complained. Is this fair and acceptable to the other eight students affected? I think not!
Now let’s talk about the lockers. Too few lockers for too many children, all of whom need a locker. “Buddy up”! Have the powers-that-be actually seen the size of these lockers and the amount of books/ P.E. kits/musical instruments/etc that the children carry on a daily basis? Would the obvious answer not be to get more lockers? My son’s Higher English teacher has not yet issued text books as he said there are too many for the children to carry until they get their lockers. What will happen to those who are not successful in the lottery draw which will issue lockers. A large number of students from Greenock Academy paid between £20 and £40 deposit/rental for lockers when they started first year. This was supposed to entitle them to their locker until they left the school after 4th, 5th, or 6th year. I’d like to know what happened to the money when the Academy closed its doors in June. I certainly didn’t receive a refund nor is my son getting the last two years entitlement to his locker. I did ask the question, but no one seems to know the answer.
My last point won’t seem that important to some, but it does affect a huge percentage of the students in Clydeview Academy; the all weather sports pitches/ 2G football pitch. My son is fortunate enough to be a part of the school’s football team. The boys had their first game today. Where did they play? On the football pitch at their shiny new school? No; Gourock Park, on the 3G pitches there. Why couldn’t they play at the school? Because, unlike Notre Dame and Inverclyde Academy, their school was not afforded the luxury of 3G pitches. The SYFA will not allow school football matches to be played on 2G pitches. Why did Inverclyde Council allow an inferior surface to be fitted and are they going to rectify this problem?
I definitely think it’s time for Mr Henderson and Inverclyde Council to face the parents and children whom they have let down so badly. It’s time they stopped trying to fob us off and fixed the problems. Our children’s education andwellbeing is too important for them to procrastinate any longer.
An outraged Parent
66/ I would like to thank Councillor Chris Osborne for acknowledging that there are legitimate concerns over facilities at Clydeview Academy. There seems to have been a concerted effort to downplay the issue and isolate those who have raised it with the Education Department by making each individual feel as though they were the only one with concerns and that they were over-reacting. This comment thread has dispelled that notion and will hopefully make everyone more determined to force the Council to take decisive action.
Could Councillor Osborne bring this matter to the attention of the Scottish Parliament? It funds local authorities; it surely has a right to investigate whether money is being spent fairly and wisely? I think that it would be reasonable for all parents to make the following demand of the Council: that a Health and Safety Officer from outwith Inverclyde Council spends a day in the school when it is fully occupied, observing corridor congestion, teaching in corridors and lunch time congestion and provides a candid, objective report on pupil safety and well-being issues.
If the council genuinely believes that Clydeview Academy is 'working' then it should have no hesitation in arranging this.
67/ I have been following with interest the 'debate' on Inverclyde Now about the difficulties at Clydeview Academy because of the school having opened with a school roll significantly above the roll it was designed for. This situation is clearly not ideal and the Head Teacher, his staff and Education Officials are working to address the specific issues raised by parents and pupils.
Those who have short memories, and wish to blame the current Labour-led Administration, might find a short history lesson of use in putting these difficulties into context. The decision to merge Greenock Academy and Gourock High School was taken by the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee on 19 January 2005. The proposal was moved by the then Convener Jim Mitchell on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Administration. An alternative Labour proposal to merge Greenock Academy with Wellington Academy and Gourock High School with Greenock High School was defeated by 11 votes to 6.
The specific proposal from the Liberal Democrats was to build a new non-denominational secondary school with a capacity of 950 on the site of the existing St Columba's High School to replace Gourock High School and Greenock Academy. It was also agreed that the school rolls of Gourock High School and Greenock Academy be capped with the annual intake limited to 100 and 80 respectively. Crucially the capping was not to take effect until December 2007, meaning that the school intake of August 2008 would be the first to be affected. It was no co-incidence that the capping would not come into effect until after the May 2007 Council elections. This politically motivated decision to delay capping and the subsequent well-documented difficulties in enforcing the caps once introduced has resulted in the present situation where the school has opened with a school roll well above the design capacity.
When Labour won back control of the Council in May 2007 we initiated a review of the school estate strategy. Unfortunately because of the advanced nature of the proposed merger of Wellington Academy and Greenock High School and the stage that the Public Private Partnership procurement process was at we could not fundamentally change the decisions of the previous Council in respect of non-denominational secondary provision. We did however consider the option of building a bigger school at Bayhill to accommodate pupils from King's Glen Primary School.
At its meeting on 18 June 2008 the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee unanimously re-affirmed the previous decision to build a new non-denominational school on the Bayhill site with a capacity of 950. While the proposal for a bigger school had met with opposition from the parent body of Greenock Academy, the reason it was rejected by the Administration was the potential detrimental impact such a decision would have on the long-term rolls of other secondary schools.
It is worth making the point that it was never the intention of the current or previous administration to build a school to accommodate placing requests. The new school was to be built to accommodate the natural intake from its associated primary schools, namely Moorfoot, Gourock and Ardgowan Primary Schools. The use of roll caps was to be the means by which the joint school rolls of Gourock High School and Greenock Academy were to be reduced over time to ensure that the new school did not open over capacity.
The central thrust of the Council's education strategy is to make every school in Inverclyde a school of choice. We do not believe in a free market in education. If parents want to exercise their right to make a placing request then we must respect that under the law. We do not have to build in surplus capacity to our schools to guarantee that such placing requests will always be granted.
While there was and is the option of providing temporary accommodation on site the danger is that a short-term fix turns into a long-term solution, which has the same detrimental impact on other schools that building a larger school than required would have had.
I would certainly have preferred that Clydeview Academy had not opened with more pupils than it was designed for. I am confident however that staff, pupils, parents and the Education Authority working together will overcome this short-term challenge and that Clydeview will prove to be a worthy successor to Gourock High School and Greenock Academy.
Council Leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe
68/ So far we have had Mr Henderson's pasta solution to the problem now Mr McCabe tells us it is all the Lib Dems fault so don't blame us! He also says that the staff and pupils will overcome....how do they do that? Mr McCabe is very quick to point the finger of blame whilst offering absolutely no solutions to the problem! He says the plans were too far advanced to change? What about the site of the former Hector McNeil Baths, where the council stopped plans to build a nursing home the very day contractors arrived on site! With the exception of Cllr Osbourne no one in authority seems to want to acknowledge a problem exists or offer a reasonable solution! Let me make my position clear, I hold EVERY elected official and council manager responsible until this situation is resolved, allowing my children the education they deserve! My children have the right to an education under law and I as a parent have the right under law to know that, when my child enters the school gate, everything possible is being done to keep them safe! This I may add includes provision for food and shelter from the weather!
I have purposely steered clear of the placement request argument as I feel it detracts from the main points here but I feel it is now time to lay this one to rest. Under Scottish law a parent has the right to place a request and to have a judicial review should the request be refused, however the local authority also has rights on the Scottish Government website there are numerous reasons why a placement request will be refused at such a judicial review. Grounds for refusing a placing request include:
b) where it would give rise to significant expenditure on extending or altering accommodation;
c) where it is likely to be seriously detrimental to order and discipline in the school;
d) where it would be likely to be seriously detrimental to the educational well-being of the pupils already at the school;
e) where it would be seriously detrimental to the continuity of the child's education;
m) accepting the request would have the consequence that the capacity of the school would be exceeded in terms of pupil numbers
Ground (m) was introduced for the first time in 2005/06.
The full publication is available through the following link http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/bulletins/00719
Incidentally how many people locally have actually challenged the refusal through courts? I can think of a few high profile cases and that is all!
Lets now refocus this argument and, rather than bickering between ourselves, concentrate our efforts on getting what we all want! Action NOW from our council to provide our children with the education they deserve.
69/ The current leader of Inverclyde Council is the first to say it (and he won’t be the last): “It wisnae me” Inverclyde Council have known for several years there would be many problems associated with overcapacity in the new school at Bayhill. They chose to ignore it. They fobbed off complaints from parents. Parents trusted the council and education department to look after the interests of ALL our children. We now have a major problem. “It wisnae me” will be a cry we will hear again and again on this issue. This will not solve the problem. VOCAL AND MILITANT ACTION FROM PARENTS IS NOW NECESSARY.
70/ Well, well, well, we now have Mr McCabe telling us we have just to work together and everything will be ok in years to come! Surprise, surprise Mr McCabe NOT GOOD ENOUGH. This school is dangerously overcrowded. I will say on this forum and pray that my prediction will not come true -- there is going to be an accident either inside the school or at the corner where the children come in the gate. One of the kids is going to fall in the crush inside or one is going to be hit with a car crossing the road. GOD HELP THESE COUNCILLORS IF THIS DOES HAPPEN. Again I request -- will the education bosses meet with us?
Father of two kids in catchment
71/ I distinctly recall in the media there being some form of report or study commissioned by the Council following the placement debacle which more or less caused this situation to arise.[Click here] This seems to be overlooked and it’s a bit vague. Whats more, I understand a substantial amount of taxpayers money was spent on this….yes… and look where it’s got the council. I think there have been some weak decisions been made throughout. Can we possibly open an official public enquiry in these matters to get to the truth perhaps, once of course the matter in hand has been addressed -- childrens education and improvement of that. Furthermore I visited Notre Dame on Sunday and was impressed in some ways and not in others. There was a library which appeared to be a tremendous facility in terms of build and there were designer seats which must have cost a pretty penny but lack of books -- what use a library with no books; where are the priorities. Flash money guzzling items like designer seats could have funded extra space etc.
72/ Thank you Mr McCabe, but I don’t appreciate a history lesson here. "Wisnae me" is all very well. I am more interested to read a statement from you telling us parents what you are going to do about the future, which we can control, not the past, which we can’t. Please put pen to paper again and tell us, briefly please, what are you doing today and next week to solve the problems. I have a son in fourth year and the clock is ticking towards exam time. Save the lecture, lets get it sorted
73/ Councillor McCabe's response to the growing concerns over the capacity of Clydeview Academy is very interesting. When you take out the jargon, we are left with quite a staggering set of admissions. He acknowledges that his administration knew in 2007 that Clydeview was not going to be big enough. He acknowledges that his administration rejected a proposal to increase the size of the school because of the impact it may have on the long term future of other schools in the area and because, I quote, 'We do not believe in a free market in education'. What Mr McCabe and his administration have done is attempt to manipulate the choices available to Inverclyde parents in selecting a school for their children. The consequences of this incredible arrogance is that every child in Clydeview Academy is the victim of Inverclyde Council's attempts at social manipulation.
Adapting the plans for Clydeview Academy to ensure that the school was adequate for the number of children going into it was a fundamental duty of Inverclyde Council. They are spending our money! How dare Mr McCabe and his administration sacrifice the educational experience of 1200-plus children simply to promote their own opinions on the issue of placing requests. That is not what they are elected to do and it is not what they are paid to do!
Mr McCabe has admitted that his administration allowed a school to be built which they knew was going to be too small for the children already in the intake groups, in order to discourage placing requests. We have been told repeatedly that numbers in Clydeview will fall in the next couple of years -- what will he do then? Demolish part of the school in case bringing the roll in line with the school's actual capacity encourages more placing requests?
As a parent, an Inverclyde resident and a tax payer I demand that an outside body is brought in to investigate the decisions and motives of this Administration and that action is taken immediately to provide additional quality accommodation at Clydeview Academy.
74/ In response to "An outraged Parent" (65) can I thank you for contributing to this on-going debate with four very informative points.
Allow me, as the last Parent Council chairman of Greenock Academy, to respond to your comments on lockers. The Greenock Academy lockers were purchased many years ago, before my involvement, by the School Board and rented out to pupils as one of our fund-raising ventures. These much needed funds were used by pupils and staff to contribute to the learning experience of all pupils attending the school. e.g. the purchase of interactive white boards.
The Greenock Academy Parent Council was duly closed down, in accordance with its constitution, at it's AGM on 6 June 2011 and all remaining funds transferred to the school and, as I understand, used to cover the costs of the "fun day" during the last week of the school.
Now to Clydeview Academy. At the Clydeview Academy Parent Council meeting on Monday 12 September, when Mr Todd advised us of his decision with regards the lockers (see comment 16) I offered that if the Greenock Academy Parent Council lockers were still in the Greenock Academy building, which I believe they are, that he could take them to his new school to help overcome the ridiculous situation of "buddying", names from hats and extra cost to families (for second key). Mr. Todd declined the offer as "there was not enough room for them".
If the Corporate Director Education and Communities, Mr Albert Henderson can confirm that the lockers are still in Greenock Academy, and he permits me to take them (technically they belong to Inverclyde Council now as we did not remove them) I'll hire a van and arrange a team to move them to the new Clydeview Academy.
Finally, I appreciate Council Leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe’s comments (67) on this situation; history does inform us of the past but should not dictate the future. Mr. McCabe does inform us of the "danger" with regards providing temporary accommodation but I can assure you that as Greenock Academy Parent Council worked hard for the installation of temporary accommodation during the build we were advised that "it would be embarrassing for the politicians [to have temporary accommodation at a new school]". Can I humbly suggest that the pages of InverclydeNow, the Greenock Telegraph and the Scottish Daily Mail are embarrassing to all those involved.
Graeme Brooks, Greenock Academy Parent Council Chairman 2010/11
75/ As for placing requests and the courts, it is for the local authority to PROVE that ONE extra pupil will be detrimental to the well being of a school. I suggest that will be nigh impossible to do and thus parent WIN their cases at court level.
76/ I would just like to comment on Council Leader McCabe’s comment. I wish he and the rest of the powers that be at Inverclyde Council would stop trying to deny any responsibility for the current situation at Clydeview Academy. Regardless where the blame lies or who did what and when, the children and their education are what is important now. The council should be concentrating on finding suitable solutions to the problems at hand. A nice learning environment, the appropriate teaching staff for ALL, something to eat and somewhere to eat it at break time, a locker for their things, football pitches that CAN be used, more space to negotiate their way through the building. These are the issues to be addressed NOW, not in time, Mr McCabe.
An outraged parent
77/ As parents how and where can we get together to discuss what we do next? Anyone any ideas because this needs to be taken to the next level
Another angry parent
78/ I have a child currently in Third Year of Clydeview Academy. I did not want this merge to happen and all my concerns have come to fruition. I will not go in to all the problems as they have been more than covered already. I am disgusted with this whole situation. I would also like to add that this is affecting morale amongst staff,; this cannot be beneficial to our children’s learning. If I could afford private education for my children I would not think twice, however I cannot and feel we are being forced to put up and shut up. I have always done everything in my capability to ensure my children fulfil their academic potential, but I do feel scared that this farce of a school is going to be detrimental to this. I am not qualified or sufficiently educated to propose a solution, but hopefully someone out there is. Ideally there will be a public meeting where Albert Henderson and those who are to blame for this will have to face the music. I live in hope.
A scared parent, Gourock.
79/ I have just spoken to Councillor Loughran [Education Convener] 10 minutes ago and requested a meeting be arranged for us all. The most he would agree to was to tell me that he was going to be at the next parent council meeting in the school and wouldn’t tell me when that was going to be. I have been on to the website and can only find dates of previous meetings. I am going to try to find out and will post when I know.
80/ Regarding comment 79, the next scheduled meeting is 10 October, allthough I understand that the chairman is working on a meeting sooner.
Graeme Brooks, Clydeview Academy Parent Council
81/ The Doors Open event last weekend gave me the opportunity to visit the two new secondary schools in Inverclyde -- Notre Dame and Clydeview Academy. The guide at Notre Dame throughout the tour emphasised the importance of the correct environment for pupil learning (stress free). He proudly explained all the wonderful features of the building to this end ie comfortable seating, air conditioning, correct lighting, correct equipment in purpose-built rooms, freedom of movement around the school and the care taken to have the art room facing north to get the best natural light. He also spent considerable time explaining the safety aspects of the building, wide corridors to eliminate bumping and barging (his words) when changing subject classes; lockers built into the fabric of the building to eliminate the carrying of luggage around, and CCTV cameras strategically positioned throughout to monitor any difficulties. He continued saying that lunch time is considered an opportunity for social integration and a relaxed atmosphere is encouraged. There are also designated social areas within the corridors to promote this important part of the learning environment. Impressive stuff.
What a pity the 'powers that be' do not consider the same priorities for the pupils at Clydeview Academy -- although the classrooms are of similar size, facilities nearly the same, the one big difference is the fact that all these essential aids to learning become null and void because of the unbelievable situation created by trying to squeeze 1,200 pupils into a building designed to accommodate 950. My sympathy is with the head teacher, staff and pupils who are faced with problems not of their making and are asked to 'crowd control' instead of working in a purpose-built school with all the promised improvements. Over to you Councillors -- wake up and resolve this situation. We all await your action plan.
Yet another anxious voter.
82/ If that short history lesson in local petty politics in post 67/ is the best that our Council Leader has to offer those of us directly affected by this debacle, I respectfully suggest that he once again considers spending more time with his family and steps aside to make way for someone who will treat this serious situation with the urgency and respect that it deserves.
Political blame culture will get us nowhere. Many of us don't know and probably don't care which party our Councillor belongs to. Inverclyde Council is responsible for this mess and Inverclyde Council needs to fix it and fix it now.
Temporary accommodation (not just classrooms, but locker rooms and rest areas too) is the obvious solution here. If the school roll falls as predicted, there will be no "danger" of these becoming a long term solution as they can be removed. If the school roll does not fall as predicted then a permanent extension can be built and the temporary buildings removed when it is completed, thus avoiding three years of needless upheaval to pupils and staff.
Hats off to Graeme Brooks (post 74/) for actually offering a solution to one of the issues. Now if only Inverclyde Council had some of his gumption we might get something done before it's too late.
Concerned parent of two pupils
83/ Thank you for your explanation as to the whereabouts of the rental paid-for lockers at Greenock Academy (comment 74), Mr. Brooks. At least I now know what happened to my money and that of other parents. I would still have thought that as the rental was paid in good faith to ensure the children had the use of their locker until they left school (permanently) that this agreement would have been honoured in the new school. Maybe informing parents that this would not be the case would have been prudent in this instance. I hope you do get the go ahead to take the old lockers across, but doubt that common sense will prevail in this instance.
I think it is high time that Inverclyde Council met with parents and students in order to address the other issues raised on this discussion page. I believe an arrangement has been made with councillor Loughran to attend the next Parent Council meeting. Do you know when/ where that meeting will take place? I would encourage every disgruntled parent/ student/ interested party to attend this meeting as the council appear to be immune to each of our individual voices but they won’t be able to ignore our joint voice.
An Outraged Parent
84/ I think a neutral venue such as the Town Hall would be better for a meeting. This would encourage all interested parties to attend, including worried parents who might not have children in Clydeview just now but do have younger kids due to go to the school in the next year or two.
Terry Loughran will only act as a buffer between angry parents and the people who actually make decisions. Albert Henderson and Stephen McCabe need to be addressed directly -- in an open forum where they can't avoid awkward questions. Neither of their recent statements suggest that they intend to do anything at all to address the situation. This isn't good enough.
Regardless of anyone's opinion on placing requests, they had a duty to act objectively and fairly, in the best interests of every child going into Clydeview. It seems that their own views on placing requests clouded their objectivity when they considered other councillors’ suggestions some four years ago to adapt the plans for Clydeview and then dismissed them.
They are for doing nothing. A full public meeting- perhaps in the glare of the national press might change their minds.
85/ If indeed Councillor Loughran DOES have the courage to come to the meeting we need to ensure that people power indicates how strongly we all feel about this situation. Graham Brooks, post 80, has kindly informed us that the next meeting is on 10 October but the parent council are pushing for a closer date. We will just have to continue with the pressure and stay in touch through this thread or on the Clydeview website. I am sure the media may be interested in this meeting too when it happens.
86/ I was particularly interested in the response from Graeme Brooks [Comment 74], former chairman of the Greenock Academy Parent Council.
I am not sure who Graeme allegedly spoke to but the decision not to have temporary classrooms at Clydeview had nothing to do with Councillors not wanting to be embarrassed and everything to do with Councillors and non-Councillors on the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee wanting to ensure that the rolls of other secondary schools were protected.
The people who should be embarrassed are those who are talking down the school at present; those responsible for the failure of the capping strategy; and those who are seeking to exploit the current situation for their own narrow political ends.
I think Graeme will know who I am talking about.
Councillor Stephen McCabe
87/ Clydeview Academy could have been a tremendous success if enrolled according to capacity. I believe the children living within the catchment area of any school should be accommodated with additional places allocated fairly to placing requests to the point of capacity and no more. The fact that a potentially exciting and modern learning environment has been swamped and choked with almost 30 per cent too many pupils is outrageous, dangerous and desperately unfair to the whole school community. As a parent of two Clydeview Academy pupils from Gourock High and Gourock Primary I feel deeply concerned that the previous high standard of education my sons received has been sabotaged by a council in constant fear of litigation. I do not want my sons’ academic results to be among those used in some future study giving proof that overcrowding has serious detrimental effects on educational attainment and development. We need this issue addressed properly now.
Concerned Parent, Gourock
88/ Could Education Services please answer one question -- why are you STILL continuing to accept placing requests into Clydeview Academy? My daughter after complaining vociferously since she started about not getting a seat for her lunch and then being rushed to finish her lunch to make way for others announced that she had a new girl in her class from St Columba’s? It was clear to everyone by this point that the school was struggling to cope with the over-capacity so this, to my thinking, beggars belief.
Did anyone not wonder at the new pupils who mysteriously appeared in Greenock Academy just at the end of term? Placing requests just before the end of term at a school which is about to close? It doesn't take a genius to work that one out - put in a placing request to Greenock Academy and then my child will definitely get a place at Clydeview. Little did they know that Education Services were just going to let everyone in anyway!
I believe there is cowardice from the powers-that-be in education services and their lawyers .They have had their fingers burnt previously with placing requests so have just given up and are letting everyone in to whatever school they want ....... at the expense of our children and their education - How dare you!
Hats off to Mr Brooks for his practical suggestion about the lockers has meant more to me than the glib platitudes from the powers-that-be!
Can I also suggest that as a parent body we request an INDEPENDENT enquiry into this fiasco? -- it must NEVER be allowed to happen again. Should the Scottish Government know about this?
A furious parent
89/ Mr. Henderson and Mr. McCabe have done what most politicians do – they deflect and deny. Let’s not let them away with it this time. Regarding the next Parent Council meeting/ public meeting regarding Clydeview Academy. Could I suggest that the parents of pupils at feeder schools are also lettered in order that they may have a chance to join this debate.
An Ardgowan Parent
90/ We have got no chance of getting Mr Henderson and Mr McCabe to face the public on this one. They know the sticky stuff has just hit the fan and they will hide behind the thick walls of the Council building, hoping the issue will go away. Pressure must be kept on them to address this farce. If solutions are not put in place, both McCabe and Henderson need to consider their position in this Council. Their lack of judgement and awareness of the situation leaves them in an unsustainable position. If there is a public meeting arranged I would encourage EVERY parent of a Clydeview pupil to be there and make their voice heard.
Angry, frustrated parent
91/ Hi Had Enough. [Post 84] I am in total agreement with you that an open venue, such as the town hall, would be better for this meeting, but, it is VERY difficult to even get the councillors to admit that we have problems let alone have them agree to a meeting. I have been trying for some time now. For obvious reasons I would not disclose Councillor Loughran’s or Councillor McKenzie’s phone numbers on any blog but it is not hard to find them. I would encourage anyone who wishes to express concerns or encourage a public meeting to endeavour to call and ask. GOOD LUCK BECAUSE YOU WILL NEED IT!
92/ Cllr McCabe [Comment 86] how dare you criticise the parents on this forum who are rightly concerned with their children's safety and the standard of education they are currently receiving or, as you prefer to them, 'those talking down the school'. How dare you say I should be embarrassed by having an interest in my child's welfare! I think it is time you realise that you are out of touch with the voting public of Inverclyde and leave office before YOU are embarrassed at the next council elections!!
93/ I am a sixth year pupil at Clydeview Academy. I have read a great deal of comments from other pupils and parents. Everyone can agree that : There isn't enough space in the school for all the pupils, we don’t always get ours lunches, the locker situation is a major problem and the fact that some teaching posts haven’t been filled is disgraceful. I am fortunate to have teachers for my subjects, but one thing no one has brought up is that sixth years get study time in order to deal with their workload. However unlike previously, we are required not to sit in a library and study with computers and resources, but to sit in the canteen, whilst pupils rotate around the school and dinner ladies make the lunches. I think this is appalling and these are not conditions which help anyone to sit and study.
Also in First Year at Greenock Academy. my mother, along with many other parents paid £40 for my locker, apparently for my whole school life. Over the next three years she did the same for my brothers and sister. Over £150 was paid for lockers for my family and we were told that we would receive this money back, but we have had no indication that this will happen. [See Comment 74]
Speaking from a pupil’s point of view, temporary accommodation may help solve the problems from some parents’ perspectives but they are not the ones who have to sit and learn in that environment.
Sixth Year Pupil
94/ Councillor McCabe seems to be under the impression that he can deflect this issue on to other local politicians and turn this into a mud-slinging battle between parties.
WE ARE NOT INTERESTED. We are interested in the steps that he, as Council Leader, proposes to take to resolve the distressing overcrowding at Clydeview Academy. The decision to proceed with the construction of the school knowing it would be too small was taken during his administration -- the appalling experiences that our children are having in a brand new school are happening during his administration.
Mr McCabe is the one who should be embarrassed, and ashamed, that he has let down more than 1,200 local children. Parents will make placing requests regardless -- you cannot stop other school rolls fluctuating -- but you can prevent the secondary education of 1200 children being destroyed.
95/ Has Albert Henderson or Councillor McCabe set foot in Clydeview Academy since this furore erupted? I have no way of knowing but I would bet money on it that they have not! Have you Councillor McCabe? Or are you hiding in your ivory tower blaming others whilst the education of our children suffers? Councillor McCabe this will not go away; the parents of those students affected in Clydeview have the bit firmly between their teeth now, so my advice to you is get into the building, speak with the students and staff and see the issues first hand for yourself and then give us some solutions and, if you can't, for whatever reason, do that then please step down and let someone who has solutions sort this mess out!
Another Furious Parent
96/ Statement from Clydeview Academy Parent Council (as published on Parent Council website)
The Parent Council of Clydeview Academy is committed to representing the views of the Parent Forum of the School. At our meeting of Monday 12 September 2011, a number of issues that are currently being discussed in the media were raised, including, problems at lunchtime, the use of non-conventional teaching space, pedestrian traffic around the school, distribution of lockers and the transportation of children to and from the school.
We also heard about the positive atmosphere in the school and extra curriculum activities including a very successful charity walk which pupils and staff participated in at the start of the term.
The Parent Council took the view at the meeting that the headteacher and his staff were taking steps to resolve a number of our concerns and that we would be monitoring the effectiveness of the measures closely with a view to reporting back to the wider Parent Forum in due course.
It is the intention of the Parent Council to issue a synopsis of the meeting on the Clydeview Parent Council Website (www.clydeviewacademy.org.uk) over the coming days. The official minutes of the meeting will also appear on the website after approval at the next full Parent Council meeting.
The Parent Council would welcome the views of all parents and carers of children in the school, again this can be done by clicking on the Contact link on the website.
The Parent Council has been, and will continue to work closely with the school, education officials and the elected representatives to ensure that the issues raised particularly around the over-capacity of the school are resolved and that measures will be put in place to ensure that the proper occupancy figure is achieved.
97/ I am pleased that the parent council at Clydeview have now commented on the issue. The views however of all the other parents AND CHILDREN have to be addressed as well. I fully understand that the parent council feel awkward about all the criticisms, but that does not make them go away. My son, who achieved straight ones in his PE prelim and Standard Grade was told initially when the PE classes were being allocated that there were far too many pupils and he and his friend would not be able to get in. In the meantime a boy arrived from St Columba’s with the intention of joining a class! Only after the vocal protestations of my son’s Greenock Academy teacher did my son and his friend get in. I am confident that there have been numerous things happen that we would all be appalled at. In the middle of all this happening Councillor Loughran -- I know because I have spoken to him -- tells you that there are STILL PLACEMENTS AVAILABLE. When will this madness cease? Please, in the name of all the kids’ education, someone, somewhere, in the powers-that-be HELP THESE KIDS.
98/ The statement from Clydeview Parent Council is very welcome, as are the on-going efforts of Mr Todd and his staff. However, unless they can make hundreds of children disappear overnight or wave a magic wand and create a larger school, the experiences of our children at this school will be compromised for years to come. Practical attempts to make an intolerable situation more bearable is all that can be done here -- and it is not good enough. Please do not be put off by veiled threats about publicity and talking down the school being unhelpful -- it is exactly what we need. It is high time that an outside, objective eye had a good long look at the actions and policies of the Education Dept at Inverclyde Council. Mr McCabe and his administration have stood on the sidelines and watched this fiasco unfold.
99/ Hi I'm a pupil at the school and I just want to raise awareness about the school bus problem. I just got my 'pass' but it seems to do nothing; the bus driver doesn't seem to check it and a teacher doesn't come around to check it. People just walk on to my bus because it goes straight into town instead of having to pay for a bus and because of this my sister had to walk the 40-minute walk to our house as my mum and dad where both at work, simply because numerous students in different years were selfish and because the adults simply let people and didn't check passes. It's not fair on the people that have to walk home and some could live much further away than we do. I don't know if this is the case with other buses but it tends to happen a lot on our bus.
100/ There is an easy solution to the problem -- form another campus either at Gourock High or the Academy for the upper school ie the fourth, fifth and sixth years and posiblly the third if required to reduce the numbers.
This will not be popular with either the belligerent council members or members of the teaching staff -- for we all know it is not an ideal situation to put the children under -- but it must be better than being in a school that is 30 per cent over its design capacity.
This would allow the younger pupils to use the school building as it was designed and utilise the classrooms and open spaces as designated, as indicated in the proposals put forward to both the Gourock High and Academy parents.
I have concerns as some of the other parents with a building that is so over capacity, and with the staff being able to safely manage the evacuation of that many pupils in an emergency as the esacpe routes were never designed for the number they are currently being asked to take. I aways had my concerns about the design and the school roll numbers and I am sorry to say my fears have been realised.
Former Parent Council Member Gourock High
I totally agree with comment 98 and am sure that one of the miracle solutions will be to shuffle in a few more tables and chairs into an already jam-packed canteen. This is not the answer -- it is still an uncomfortable and cramped environment for any young person to eat a meal. Those with packed lunch meals (who often only take a packed lunch because the queue is intolerable) now being pushed into the assembly hall at lunchtime and not being afforded the opportunity to relax and eat with friends who are "dining in" is not in my opinion a solution either. You can be assured that this is not happening out in Dunlop Street! An INDEPENDENT enquiry must go ahead -- this is tax payers’ money contributing to this shambles.
102/ Further to Mr McCabe's post, (Comment 86) can he please refrain from bringing politics into the overcrowding issues at Clydeview Academy? Mr McCabe, can you please focus all your efforts and energy into solving the issue of overcrowding at the school rather than taking cheap jibes of a political nature, of which I have absolute no interest?
Regarding the negativity surrounding Clydeview, Mr McCabe you will be pleased to hear that I believe it is a wonderful school, with wonderful facilities (I was more than happy with Gourock and Greenock Academy merging). The teachers my children have appear to be enthusiastic, and very competent and the head teacher appears to be similar. HOWEVER, the school has 300 children too many, through NO FAULT of my children and this needs to be solved. So save the politics and fighting for your council meetings and let us see you helping to give the pupils of Clydeview the building they deserve. How this will be done, I don’t know but please try.
103/ Have a look at Saturday’s Daily Record, page 23 -- a piece about Clydeview Academy. If I was Stephen McCabe or any of the people responsible for this mess I would be absolutely mortified. A source is quoted as saying if this school in years to come was under capacity that they would be criticised. So basically “stuff” the kids who are there right now. Well I am sorry, but that’s not how it works Mr McCabe; I am not interested in how much money you have spent or not spent. What I am interested in is my children’s education and wellbeing. Can you promise me that my children will have as good a shot at their education as they would have had had they still been in either Gourock High or Greenock Academy.
A furious parent who is disgusted with all involved
104/ To Sixth Year Pupil (post 93/). Don't be too hasty to dismiss temporary buildings. They have evolved and are no longer the glorified garden sheds that many of us endured during our high school years in the 70s. If planned properly, they can be a seamless addition to the main building, with no need to dash outside in inclement weather to access them.
Concerned parent of two pupils
105/ Re: Mr McCabe comments [Post 67] ......"While there was and is the option of providing temporary accommodation on site the danger is that a short-term fix turns into a long-term solution, which has the same detrimental impact on other schools that building a larger school than required would have had."
The fear that any temporary accommodation might become a permanant fixture by default/custom and practice could be overcome by arranging that the situation is reviewed each year rather than left as an open-ended arrangement.
It is clearly unacceptable to have specialist classes carried out in non-specialist rooms having raised the expectations of the students to choose subjects like French, Chemistry etc and so compromise their education in those areas.
Political posturing is so predictable in this council and a situation which has rumbled on for years could now be so easily resolved, thus eliminating the negative view many of us have of the the way the process has been handled.
A practical solution to this problem is imperative. What is required now is temporary accommodation. It can be reviewed every year by the council to assuage the concerns of Mr McCabe, et al.
Yet another concerned parent
106/ I have been following the posts here since the start and it begins to amuse me how far people think this should go. It would appear now the general aim has been met -- the issues being experienced have been given a very high profile and are being dealt with as best as possible. But I do think some people have unrealistic expectations or cannot balance expectation with reality of what can done.
The school I attended not so long ago in Renfrewshire was chronically overcrowded (on the same scale as Clydeview) and always was when I was there. If you didn't belt down the corridors at the lunch bell, you'd be waiting 25 minutes to get served in the canteen. The corridors were jam-packed and very narrow. And the fifth year social area was simply tiny with the sixth year one being called the 'playpen'. And here is the clincher -- it is, and has been for many years, one of the top performing government funded schools in Scotland, with all those woes included
So there comes a point with the Clydeview issue where I begin to lose sympathy with the case. The situation is not ideal, and one endemic to planning in Scotland, however bottom line is -- the school has been built, another one is not being built, so work constructively and take the politics out of it -- those smart enough will be keeping that for a point not too far away when collectively they can decide to punish whoever they think is to blame - (good luck finding one person for that).
Waiting in queues for lunch, being crammed at intervals and not having lockers is absolutely nothing new, and not a blocker to a good education.
107/ Surely, the solution must be in terms of temporary accommodation. What Mr McCabe [Comment 67] says is nonsense. If the school roll is to fall then the temporary accommodation can be removed. Simple as that!
I don't get why parents are talking about placement requests. I believe if parents want into the Clydeview they will get in via the courts. Live with it!
And to live with it the school needs temporary accomodation. Is that not common sense?
108/ I was speaking to my son about the problems in the school and he told me a most alarming thing. Last week there was a fire drill in the school. In the crush of kids coming through the corridor and down the stairs my son saw a boy fall. My son was then kicked by the boy, unintentionally, because the boy was frightened and was being stood on by other kids. The boy was eventually lifted by other children and got outside but my son told me that it was indeed quite "scary" in the crush. The situation in Clydeview cannot continue and the council MUST agree to a meeting with parents in order to discuss what we are going to do next. These councillors must be MORTIFIED about this and they have a duty to the care and well-being of our children.
A father of two boys in catchment area
109/ I have a controversial solution to the overcrowding and placement request problems in Inverclyde. It involves no temporary accommodation or refits but will require open mindedness and a whole new approach to secondary education in Inverclyde.
Instead of two non-denominational schools in Greenock why not have one large school with a junior campus at Inverclyde Academy for First to Third Year and a senior campus at Clydeview Academy?
The benefits would not just settle boundary issues and placing requests but I genuinely feel it would benefit the pupils’ education. Staff and teachers at the senior school can concentrate on the best ways to help our children achieve the best Standard and Higher results whilst creating an environment conducive to learning and studying for exams. As every child in the senior school would be working to exams the collective mindset would hopefully encourage studying and help those who may otherwise be easily distracted by younger pupils.
The staff at the junior school would be able hone methods and practices best at engaging the younger pupils in new subjects to give them a solid educational foundation to build on without the added pressure of preparing older pupils for exams.
The needs and social problems of the two age groups are very different. It would allow teachers to specialise and headteachers to tailor resources and activities that are age-appropriate.
To me it seems like a realistic solution with the two schools being relatively close in location. Maybe a few extra buses would be required but that would be a lot cheaper than a refit or temporary accommodation. However I have no recent dealings with the education system in Inverclyde so I am interested to see how this idea is received by teachers and parents alike.
Optimistic of Inverclyde
110/ I welcome the news that Mr McCabe and Mr Henderson will visit the school this week [Click for article] and not before time. At least the parents and pupils will feel that their opinions matter.
Regarding post 106, whilst I agree that a good education can be achieved despite a facility being overcrowded, I have to disagree with your comment for this reason. Millions of pounds will be spent over the forthcoming years to pay for the building which everyone appears to agree now is not adequate for the current school roll. Another school built in Dunlop Street seems to be more than adequate. If you are doing a job, ie building new schools, surely it is not that difficult to get it right -- 250-plus extra pupils is very much getting it wrong. This is the reason why something has to be done.
Hopeful for a solution
111/ Re:John Bowes last comment 'just live with it' [Comment 107] -- John, what planet are you on, how can the council continue to grant placement requests to a school that is already overcrowded by nearly 30 per cent?
Do us all a favour and keep you unhelpful comments to yourself - it detracts from a serious issue that needs resolved now before the exam results for the school start to nose dive and the children’s safety is put at risk.
Angry, concerned parent
112/ In response to Comment 60, there was a fire drill on Friday 16 September [See also Comment 108]. My daughter informed me that it took a full 15 minutes for them to vacate the building. Apparently it was bedlam on the stair wells. This just is not good enough. Is it going to take for something to happen in this vastly overcrowded school before our councilors wake up to this major problem? Please no more placing requests. It has to stop now!!
A very concerned Gourock parent
113/ I would like to place on record my thanks to Inverclyde Now for highlighting the current issues surrounding Clydeview Academy. When I sent my initial post I was apprehensive that perhaps my child was overstating the problems or indeed was the only one who thought the issues existed! The numerous comments on here clearly prove otherwise and it is heartening to see so many people speak up on this topic. I hope the news that Mr Henderson and Mr McCabe are to visit the school will soon see some sort of solution offered, although I won't hold my breath! Finally I hope that the momentum which has gathered on this forum won't fade away and the parents and pupils will continue to apply pressure until the school is finally fit for purpose!!
114/ I understand there is to be a parent council meeting today (Wednesday 21 September) in Clydeview, at 7 o'clock [Click here] to which all parents of Clydeview children are invited. If you are a genuine parent with genuine concerns I urge you to attend. Councillors are not expected to be at this meeting, however this gives us a formal chance to force a meeting with the council. GENUINE PARENTS PLEASE SHOW YOUR SUPPORT BY TURNING UP.
115/ Having attended almost every public meeting held regarding Clydeview Academy I recall that the phrase used at the the time was "Sheriff Proof", meaning that if a refused placing request was appealed it would go to the Sheriff Court for a decision to be made. It was pointed out at one meeting that because the school was known to be opening with an over-capacity roll, what would prevent parents who wish to use a placing request to get their child into the school from doing so, since the argument would be "well you accomodated over 1000 pupils in 2011". The officials present responded that "nothing is Sheriff Proof". It seemed at the time that although publicly making statements about capping the roll and how the roll would eventually drop to the 950 the building was designed for, that privately our elected members and education officials accepted that they were making empty promises. Now it seems that in accepting EVERY placing request our Council has anticipated failure. I would be interested to know on whose advice the decision was taken not to at least try and refuse placing requests. If this anonymous person has advised the education department now that refusing placing requests would be a costly waste of time then why couldn't the same anonymous person have given their advice before education officals made their promises that the roll would fall? If the roll is not to fall through refused placing requests then could someone from the Council please explain to me and the other concerned parents exactly how they do anticipate it falling? Or have they given up any hope that the roll will reach 950? I actually feel as if I was deliberately lied to, and that makes me very angry.
116/ I am a parent of an Fourth Year pupil and a Primary Six currently at an associated primary. I feel that it is nothing short of tragic that cash-strapped Inverclyde Council have paid £27 million to give our kids a worse chance at their education than if they had stayed in their very successful former secondary schools. I wonder if, like me, other Clydeview parents would have preferred to have seen that money spent on upgrading Gourock High and Greenock Academy. In fact, perhaps they should move St Columba' s into the Clydeview building and use the cash earmarked to upgrade the Gourock building to do just that! No problems with placing requests then!
117/ I have been very vocal on this issue, having two children in the school and another due to go in in two years. There was a parent council meeting last night (21 September) which I attended. We were told at the outset that although we were welcome at the meeting -- myself and around ten others -- we were not strictly allowed to contribute. To give credit where credit is due however myself and a few others did. I raised some of my issues and the chairman of council was sympathetic to some of my points and was of the opinion that more people -- who do not hide behind anonymity -- were required to be vocal before a meeting with the council could be requested. To be fair, he does have a point. One of the things that was decided was that the Clydeview website should be updated to encompass a forum that everyone with any concerns could go onto and voice their opinions. If you do have genuine issues or concerns I urge you to use this source. I feel that this would be the only way we could stand a chance of such a meeting taking place. Finally I have to say that there were some positives -- money raised for charity and [headteacher] Mr Todd talking about how he and his staff are working hard to make the school as good as it can be.
118/ Just another point about Clydeview Academy, about the "all-weather" football pitch. As far as I know, this pitch is unsuitable for competitive football games because the surface is not up to the standard requirements. As a result, it is only used for hockey games and general purpose runabouts etc.
119/ I would just like to add that the next parent council meeting is on 10 October, I assume at 7pm, at which [Education Convener] Mr Loughran WILL be. A good turnout from parents, speak with your presence, would put a great deal of pressure on the powers that be to agree to meet us.
120/ Thanks to 'Irene' for the update on the Parent Council Meeting [Comment 117]. I didn't know about it until too late and, to be honest, probably wouldn't have gone for the simple reason that I don't have children in the school just now. I am very fortunate that one has just left Greenock Academy and the other isn't due to start at Clydeview for a couple of years. There are many people locally in similar situations; they have a genuine interest and concerns about the school because their children are due to go there in the not too distant future. If a public meeting could be arranged I think a lot of parents of children at feeder primary schools would attend.
The absolute priority is that the Council take steps to improve the educational experience of the children who are there just now and I fail to see how that can be achieved without providing additional accommodation.
The wider picture should be of interest to the whole community -- can we trust an Education Department that condoned the construction of a school that they knew was going to be too small? The claim that this was done to protect other school rolls is just not acceptable. Neither is it acceptable that up until this point the council have continued to accept placing requests to Clydeview.
What about St Columba's -- how many children are left there now -- less than 500? Surely if this number is considered adequate to maintain the viability of St Columba's in its own right and the investment of £15million in the former Gourock High -- the children in Clydeview deserve, at the very least, an investment in good quality additional accommodation.
I hope that Mr McCabe's visit to Clydeview today (Friday 23 September) will be more than a publicity stunt. Will he have the guts to stand in the canteen at lunchtime? visit science students in the music department? or brave the corridors at the interval? Will the children be allowed to address him directly with their experiences- and will he listen?
A Local Parent
121/ My husband and I visited both Notre Dame and Clydeview Academy on the council open day. There is no comparison between the two schools. The space outside the classrooms in Notre Dame is huge compared to Clydeview; the windows in the classrooms are huge and let in so much more light than Clydeview Academy. I did notice there were more than 900 lockers -- maybe they could give some to Clydeview; a massive library compared to Clydeview which has two classrooms in it. Lots of what was termed flexible teaching areas which amounts to big open spaces in corridors which maybe could be used as classrooms as the guide told us. All this for 850 pupils; and Clydeview Academy seemed smaller but has 1,212 pupils. It’s a pity that more of the Clydeview Academy parents did not make the effort to go and see Notre Dame.
An old granny
122/ I don’t know how the councillors who represent us here in Inverclyde can sleep at night in the full knowledge that more than 1,200 children are at risk from overcrowding every week day when they walk through the doors of their new school! What are they waiting on?! They have admitted that the building is too small. They have admitted that there are too many students in the school. What they haven’t admitted is that unless they take action now, these issues will never be resolved. Any humility or costs involved with temporary accommodation and/ or refusing further placements meantime should be cast aside in the interest of the children’s safety, education, and well being. If the building was bigger and capable of accommodating more pupils then I’m sure nobody would object to placements to the school. The issue is not placements, but overcrowding! How can anyone justify cramming even more students into a building which is already bursting at its seams! Common sense must prevail here! No more senseless debates on whether the courts will side with misguided parents! On some occasions, the law is “an ass”! Let’s instead have suggestions/ comments on things that can be done to help make this new school (which our kids are stuck with) work.
An Outraged Parent
(For the avoidance of doubt; my children live in the catchment area.)
123/ I do not quite understand where parents and so on are going concerning the Clydeview overcrowding issue. I suggest that they must now petition others. The HMIE can be contacted viahttp://www.hmie.gov.uk/contactuswizard.aspx
Again, I cannot see the point in simply saying/claiming the same stuff over and over in internet forums and so on.
124/ Mr McCabe my son will have left the school by the time it has met its projected pupil numbers! He has ONE SHOT at his education and yet again you and your colleagues have ignored the fact that this school is not fit for purpose NOW!! Why won't you have a public meeting with parents that so many are asking for??!
125/ Reading comments from the last couple of weeks about Clydeview Acadamy, the parents and pupils should be grateful they have the opportunity of a new school.
126/ So this stuation of overcrowding is a temporary one -- well temporary to me is when the plumber seals a pipe till he goes for a new pipe and I for one would not expect it to take him two years to come back. The seniors are leaving to go out into the world in those two years and let’s not forget what has faced the new intake of First year pupils coming from their well-ordered primaries to this. (as if First Year in high school isn't enough to deal with). Some of these problems I'm sure can be fixed quickly but it is obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense that, no matter what, you cannot make more space where there is none. Things have not changed that much in high school over the years where the social order of things is concerned and, in my opinion, that's the worst travesty of all in this fiasco. There is an order whether we like it or not, social groups are formed, seniors are the top notch and are looked up to, Third and Fourth year are starting to become young adults adn therefore don't mix with the junior years, the one social group rarely encroaches on each other and then there are the social groups formed within each of those years eg, cool set, brains, comedians, nerds etc. These social groups are necessary for the students as it's what makes them who they are and who they'll become in the future. They are also important for the order and harmony within the school itself (if a rift appears in class with someone a child will sound off with their own friends thereby letting off steam and the matter is usually forgotten). Without decent social areas, what you have is a simmering pot waiting to boil over. Sort out the social areas for these kids now and the rest they will cope with, Kids are and always will be resillient.
127/ Until the complaints mounted recently, Mr McCabe and his colleagues at Inverclyde Council didn’t acknowledge that there were any problems -- now we are told that it will sort itself out in three years. What a pity for the children whose Standard Grade and Higher exams straddle that three-year period. Was their education sacrificed by Councillor McCabe 'in order to protect other school rolls?' How have secondary rolls fluctuated across Greenock and Gourock in the last four years? How can Councillor McCabe be certain that the Clydeview roll will fall to 950 within three years? Has the Council changed its policy on placing requests? Has account been taken of the continuing trend for sixth year pupils to stay in school because of fierce competition for university places and the shortage of job opportunities? Why won't Councillor McCabe agree to a public meeting to allow worried parents of pupils in Clydeview and the associated primary schools, to air their concerns? The Liberal administration who proposed the mergers of the four non-denominational secondary schools across Greenock and Gourock, and the two Catholic schools, took a great deal of flak at the time from angry and worried parents. They did however, have the courage to face their critics in public meetings at the Town Hall. Why won't you give us the same opportunity Councillor McCabe?
A very worried parent
128/ Hello Folks. I have read all original 120 comments with interest. Now a new thread is starting on the Clydeview Academy debacle. I have also attended a meeting of the parent council whom in general think the positives outweigh the negatives with respect to the new school. The parent council basically dismissed the 120 comments by breaking them down statistically, commenting on the lack of names on forums, even suggesting it could be a handful of people stirring it up. I did not comment at the meeting out of respect for their rules and regulations. Any controversial comment raised was dismissed and certainly not minuted. If you are genuinely concerned, you must bombard the parent council website letting them know there is a problem, both parents and students. Also contact your local MP, and finally put your name to any correspondence. This story has been mentioned in the Greenock Telegraph, Daily Record and Scottish Mail and Your Radio -- not just Inverclyde Now as the parent council suggested. Please help if you have genuine concerns. Personally I would like an independent body outwith Inverclyde Council to INVESTIGATE this shambles; then and only then would I be happy.
129/ I am a pupil in Third Year of Clydeview Academy. The school is massive but it is just overcrowded. Today I got a locker. It sounds good but no, I get one on the ground. I am about 5ft 8in and have to nearly lie on my stomach just to get my personal belongings. The new First Years got main priority for a locker which is crazy; it should be the later years first. Anyway, as I was crouching getting my stuff out of my locker, I notice a First Year next to me who is very small and could not even reach into his locker! So my friends and I complained about getting floor level lockers and the teacher said, and I quote "just deal with it". As you may notice if you have seen the Clydeview building, it has colourful sheets of metal. What they do is stop sun coming through (they could just use blinds) but we live in Scotland and it is hardly ever sunny and it is mostly windy. So if you are in classes next to these sheets of metal and it's windy outside, make sure you are ready for a sore head! The wind actually whistles through the silly pieces of colourful metal.
From a very disappointed third year!
130/ As a teacher in Clydeview Academy, I have read this topic with interest over the past couple of weeks. I understand the concerns of parents -- our children should always be our primary concern, but I must say that I simply do not recognise the school as it is being described by some of the more rabid commentators. Indeed some who have contributed to this forum seem to be actively seeking new Clydeview inadequacies which will facilitate their continued frothing-at-the-mouth purely for the sake of it.
Anyone who is concerned that the lunch hall is overcrowded can take it from this long-standing teacher that Clydeview’s lunch hall is no more overcrowded than that of either Greenock Academy or Gourock High School, or, indeed the majority of schools the length and breadth of Scotland and is therefore not a danger to any children. Neither is it any more overcrowded than the average disco or club in which some of the 6th Year pupils, who have complained on this site, would happily spend the wee small hours at the weekend. Anyone who is concerned that their child is being taught Physics in a Music Classroom can also take it from me that not only is this common practice in schools, (as at least half of all science lessons do not involve experiments and indeed it is preferable to conduct them in a non-science room with proper writing desks and tables on which to write) but that the music rooms in which these lessons take place are, in fact, far nicer environments than the previous non-science rooms in which science lessons took place in Greenock Academy and Gourock High School. Anyone who feels that their child’s education is suffering from being taught in Clydeview Academy should read Inverclyde Now’s article, with which I, as a Clydeview Academy teacher, totally agree.
Now I fully understand and expect that my opinion will not satisfy, and indeed may even cause the prolonged oral frothing of some of the contributors to this site, but I make no apologies for it. It is an opinion formed from experience: not from hearsay; it is an opinion formed from observation; not from hysterical invention and it is an opinion to which I am fully entitled and have come to over the last few weeks; not one which has been hastily persuaded upon me by the unreasoned ranting of others. I hope that these same “concerned parents” realize that they are deeply damaging the morale of the school in general, and particularly the pupils and teachers, with their constant carping. However those “concerned parents” may rest assured and remove said froth, as even this will not prevent the teachers of Clydeview Academy from educating their children to the high level which they have previously done in Greenock Academy and Gourock High School.
A concerned teacher
131/ In reply to the comments from a concerned teacher [Comment 130] everything is great in Clydeview Academy, after all it is no more crowded than a disco or a club! Are you actually being serious???!! This is a place of education, a state-of-the-art high school, not Word Up on a Saturday night! When my child comes home and tells me that he has had to stand out in the rain as there was no room in the school, when he states that he is hungry as he couldn't get food because of the canteen queues, I feel perfectly entitled to 'froth at the mouth' What is damaging the morale of pupils is an over-crowded school; not their parents taking an interest in their wellbeing and education!
132/ Ah, but you see, Paul from Greenock, that is the beauty of living in a democracy like ours -- I am actually allowed my own opinion, rather than having to be badgered into accepting yours. I am also allowed to form that opinion from first-hand experience rather than forming it from hearsay as you have. How many times has your son come home having had no lunch? How many times has he "had" to stand out in the rain because there was no space in the school? There is ALWAYS space in the school and a good deal more than in the lunch halls of Clydeview Academy's forerunners. Children can on occasion exaggerate ... as can their parents. In fact in the school last week one group of visiting parents actually told off another group of the same who were trying to contradict and put words into the mouths of one Sixth Year student because he was trying to say how much he enjoyed the school -- sometimes those who shout loudest aren't always in the right. It's a pity that there are always those who don't like it when others exercise their right to disagree. You may, by all means hold your opinion, but you must also accept that you are not speaking for everyone or even speaking for the majority.
I did mention in my previous post that my opinion probably would not satisfy, and indeed may even cause the prolonged oral frothing of some of the contributors to this site e.g. your good self, but perhaps you might consider that it really is time you stopped frothing, stepped back a bit and had a look. You might then want to get on with celebrating the excellent achievements of the pupils and staff.
A concerned teacher
133/ Re a concerned teacher, [Comment 132], can I say if my child came home once having not had a lunch, then it is once too often! If he has become wet from standing outside once then it is once too often! I am genuinely shocked that an educator can dismiss the views of pupils so easily and, whilst I respect your right to your views, I can assure you that, if anything, my child under-exaggerates things rather than over! Can all the people on here, including pupils be so wrong?! I think not!
My last point to a concerned teacher is simply to say you have no idea where my information came from regarding the school! To set the record straight I have several very close friends who are staff members in the school; I won't give their positions but, like you, they are entitled to their views and agree completely with me and the many others on this forum! I have also visited the school both as a parent and in an official capacity and I have seen firsthand the problems associated with this school!
I fully support the teachers and staff in Clydeview Academy and I know that all do their best to educate our children but does this mean we have to accept a sub-standard building? I don't believe so and believe that the staff should also be doing more 'frothing at the mouth' to get the problems addressed once and for all!
134/ Whilst I fully endorse the democratic right of 'Concerned Teacher' to express his/her views on the situation at Clydeview Academy, I find their attitude somewhat worrying.
I understood that the disruption our children experienced in the Greenock Academy/Gourock High merger at Clydeview would be offset by the benefits of that new learning environment. It seems that they have merely swapped one inadequate environment for another. Surely the objective in spending £27 million on a new school was to alleviate overcrowding and accommodation deficiencies? Does 'concerned teacher' see no irony in their claim that the music rooms now being used to teach theory science are 'nicer' than their forerunners? Does he/she fail to see that attempting to answer science questions with the clang of the triangles from next door ringing in your ears is not what our children should be experiencing in a new 'state of the art' school?
Claiming that the situation is no worse than in other schools is a statement of failure and negates the value of every penny spent on building the school. It was supposed to improve our children's learning and resolve the accommodation weaknesses of the former schools, not transfer them to a newer setting!
I hope, for the sake of all our children, that 'Concerned Teacher's' view is not representative of the staff at Clydeview Academy.
135/ A few factual comments about the debate: 'A concerned teacher' is just as anonymous as all the other contributors - including me. Staff are not allowed to make any negative comments in public as it will lead to disciplinary action, hence, a public debate based on fact and not opinion and self-interest will not take place on this forum. I know for a fact that a paper was produced by Inverclyde announcing that Science teachers can 'prefer' teaching in non-Science rooms. This paper was rejected by both Science Departments. Evidence to support the claim was not produced. Whether this has an impact on learning we will have to wait and see. I would hope that progress is being checked before it is too late. If everyone wanted a true picture of how this school is settling down, an independent survey should be produced with parents, pupils, teachers and officials being allowed to submit at least three questions each without alteration. It may point out the good points of the school, of which there are many; but it may also lead to disclosure of some points that lead to concern and that need addressing. Until this is done and published, this debate will rely on the anecdotal, the self-interested and the exaggerated.
'A Concerned Contributor'
136/ Well a few weeks have passed since I have commented on the Clydeview situation as, like many other parents, I decided to sit back and wait to see what solutions the powers-that-be came up with. I was somewhat encouraged by the statement from the parent council that was sent home in schoolbags -- but can we believe all that it says?
Lockers -- everyone got one -- yes true but some kids are sharing -- was that fact mentioned in the bulletin home? That the school was evacuated in four minutes? Was it really? My daughter, although only a Second Year, tells me it was much longer than that. She also said that, on entering the class, the teacher said ‘keep your jackets on we are having a fire alarm drill’! So it seems like people knew what was happening -- preplanned like a military operation -- no such chance to prepare like that in a real emergency.
Is the situation in the dining room better? My friend visited as part of the recent First Year parents’ tours and there are now a lot more chairs and tables. Has this made it a more comfortable experience for youngsters? Not acccording to my daughter. This week has been bad because the weather has been horrid and most kids stay in. According to my 13-year-old the noise was terrible – I can only imagine hundreds crushed into that one area.
I am going to the parent council meeting on Monday evening(10 October). I know I can’t speak as I am not a member but I do want to go along and listen to what is being said. I just feel things should not have turned out like this for the youngsters. They have been short-changed in quite spectacular fashion. The political spin from politicians has been predictable and they are all just blaming each other. I would love to know what the ordinary staff in the school think about things.
Increasingly concerned parent
137/ Once again it seems as if words are being put into people’s mouths by those with a dogged determination to force their opinions on others and to see the new school’s reputation tarnished. I have searched my posts on this subject and on no occasion do I see where I “dismiss the views of pupils” easily or in any other fashion, for that matter. If, as I suspect may be the case, Paul from Greenock, you are referring to my statement, “Children can on occasion exaggerate ... as can their parents” then two things occur to me. Firstly, you are trying to defend the position that children cannot exaggerate (surely a totally indefensible position?) and secondly, you have completely missed the point of that sentence, as the second part contained the import of the message. For the record, in my previous post I asked, “How many times has your son come home having had no lunch? How many times has he ‘had’ to stand out in the rain because there was no space in the school?” Sadly, no direct answer was given but it was alluded to that it was once on both counts. If this was indeed the case then it does seem to emphasise my point “... as can their parents” as all your clamouring for public meetings, visits from councillors, temporary accommodation etc may be a little of an exaggeration and a little over the top, as it was very possibly teething problems which caused your son to miss lunch and not the unsuitability of the building. It is not uncommon for new buildings to have teething problems – look at the Scottish Parliament; look at Heathrow Terminal Five. Teething problems are ones which occur at the beginning and are discovered and sorted out, so once again I ask, how many times? I'm sure, in any case you will have phoned to complain so I can always check. I’m sorry your son missed his lunch. I’m sure the head teacher and all his deputies are sorry. I hope when you called to complain that the school apologised, because good manners cost nothing. I trust he hasn’t missed lunch again? Now can we move on, please?
You then state, Paul from Greenock, “Can all the people on here, including pupils be so wrong?! I think not!” I could just as easily ask, “Can all the people who haven’t come on here to complain, including pupils, teachers and other members of staff, be so wrong?! I think not?” I should imagine that, even with the most blinkered of views, no-one can argue that compared to the number of pupils and parents attached to the school, the numbers who have complained on this site are relatively tiny (if indeed they are all genuine and not simply a much smaller number who wish to carry out a long-held agenda and who are constantly changing their identities on this forum in order to further that agenda) - once again I state that you do not speak for the majority. Perhaps, as you assert you do indeed have friends who are members of staff in Clydeview Academy and who agree completely with you, but that doesn’t make you right and I can honestly say that they do not represent me or anyone else on the staff with whom I have spoken. You then ask, “does this mean we have to accept a sub-standard building?” Where is your evidence, Paul from Greenock, that the building is sub-standard? It has passed ALL the statutory checks and balances. I might also ask the contributor No 134, otherwise known as A Parent, what evidence he or she has that the new building will not “improve our children's learning” and furthermore what evidence he or she has that pupils in science have the “clang of the triangles from next door” ringing in their ears. Once again we have assumption on top of rumour on top of gossip on top of fishwifery and suddenly 2 plus 2 equals 5, or in this case 50! Again, for the record, since it is a state-of-the-art building, the soundproofing in the school is excellent, so, be it a music lesson or not next door, the sound transference is negligible. Again I speak not from hearsay, but from experience. In any case, who is to say that science would not be the department next to music in a school? Some department must be next to it, unless we decide to drop music from the curriculum lest it disturb the subject next door.
So, No 134, you need not worry about the attitude of a teacher who wishes the best for all pupils but just won’t buy into the hysterical pack mentality of some who should know better and neither should you be concerned if my view is representative of the staff or not. You should be more concerned that those of us who are actually working in the building, teaching pupils on a daily basis and who find the school vastly superior to its predecessors, are actually given a fair hearing rather than having aspersions cast upon their professional abilities by the ill-informed, because they simply want to say, “Please stop worrying that your children’s education is being adversely affected by their attendance of Clydeview Academy, because it isn’t - on the contrary it is being enhanced.”
Once again I say that in my previous post I did mention that my opinion probably would not satisfy, and indeed may even cause the prolonged oral frothing of some of the contributors to this site – that has been borne out by the last few posts and so I will now take this opportunity to bow out from this rammy, hoping that the time I have given to my reasoned contribution has been appreciated and that the other side of the story has been heard, and I shall now go back to preparing some more very high-quality lessons for my excellent pupils.
A concerned teacher
138/ A Concerned Teacher -- thank you for your comments on this forum. I will miss your informative posts! You asked me a direct question and then said let's move on, do you want a direct answer?? Anyway my son has missed lunch on FOUR occasions and since we are now only in the first week of October, I personally think that this is a disgrace! As I mentioned, if it had even been one occasion then this was once too often -- this should not be mistaken as an admission that it only happened on one occasion! You are correct though when you say he has HAD to stand outside sheltering in a door on one occasion and again I will say this is ONCE to often! Now to address some of your other points! Despite the growing popularity of Inverclyde Now and the already high numbers of readers, I'm sure not every member of staff and parent of Clydeview Academy reads the website and hence can't comment on this forum. I think the numbers who have taken the time to comment speaks for itself and shows the genuine concerns people have. Have you dismissed the views of pupils? Yes, clearly you have when pupils on this forum have categorically stated that there are specific issues within the school and you say there aren't. To finish I will again stress I am NOT speaking from hearsay but from firsthand observations I have made on the SEVERAL occasions that I have visited the school. You are entitled to your views but as a parent I am certainly entitled to mine and I'm sure we will continue to disagree on numerous issues! Perhaps I will see you in a nightclub and we can continue the discussion, shouldn't be too hard to spot each other, after all pubs and clubs are only as busy as Clydeview Academy!
139/ With reference to the latest post from "a concerned teacher", I wonder which members of staff are finding conditions at Clydeview Academy "vastly superior to those of its predecessors". Certainly not this experienced teacher or any of the many colleagues with whom I have discussed this. As employees of the council we are not supposed to publicly criticise the school but it is unfair for one member of staff to suggest that their personal view is shared by all of their colleagues and I would like readers and contributors to this forum to know that the views of "a concerned teacher" are far from unanimous.
140/ Like 'concerned teacher' and many others, I have benefited from anonymity in my contributions to this forum of debate. However, I will accord 'concerned teacher' with some respect by accepting that they are not misrepresenting their position and that they are in fact, a teacher in Clydeview Academy. Unfortunately, his/her reference, in what has been a largely civilised debate, to parents 'frothing at the mouth' and his/her impatient attitude towards pupil concerns does little to engender confidence that he/she reciprocates a respectful mindset towards either the pupils he/she teaches in Clydeview Academy, or their parents. Neither does his/her suggestion that the 100 -plus comments here represent 'a few' people with an agenda. The only agenda I have is to continue to seek answers from the Education Department at Inverclyde Council as to why they allowed the overcrowding at Clydeview Academy to occur in the first place and to pursue the respite that additional temporary accommodation will provide during the next three years, or until the roll falls.
It is encouraging to read other comments which suggest that 'concerned teacher' speaks as a lone voice and frustating to note, understandably, that those who share the concerns of parents and pupils are bound by their positions to be more cautious about their statements. Whilst 'concerned teacher' claims to have bowed out of 'this rammy' it may be worth reiterating that I have not read one comment, apart from those of 'concerned teacher', where criticism has been directed towards the pupils in Clydeview Academy. With this in mind, I suggest that if morale amongst pupils and staff is low, then it is certainly not the fault of those expressing concerns about children's welfare. Perhaps 'concerned teacher' should peruse Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: 'Every child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken seriously' (respect for the views of the child).
I have visited the school a couple of times and I accept that the majority of staff are doing all that they can to work within the confines of the space available to them. I also recognise that the new school will not have the leaky windows and falling plaster that plagued Greenock Academy and perhaps also Gourock High. However, that does not mean that pupils and parents should be expected to make do with a building that is simply too small to provide the learning environment that our children should have in a new 'state of the art, fit for 21st century' school.
I am sorry if I'm agitating 'concerned teacher' with my expectations. The frenetic tone of his/her contributions to this forum suggest that their patience is limited. This leaves me very uneasy
about how successfully they communicate with children.
141/ Can the teacher who wrote in confirm that the soundproofing extends to the assembly hall/exam hall? I did wonder about that as I toured the school given that it is right next to the busy, noisy canteen/social area. Now that Mr McCabe has given us the actual roll for the school – 1207 -- I believe with a huge senior school, will they all fit in the assembly hall when it comes round to exam time or will the gyms have to be commissioned for exam use too. I am sure someone has thought about this already ......... maybe?
A parent who still remains concerned
142/ With reference to comment No 139, once again words are being put into the mouths of those who dare to disagree. At no time have I ever stated that my personal view is shared by all of my colleagues and, for the avoidance of doubt, I ask you to point out that statement to me and all on this forum. I specifically stated the opposite in my previous post. How the words “Perhaps, as you assert, you do indeed have friends who are members of staff in Clydeview Academy and who agree completely with you ...” can be misconstrued, I cannot fathom, but it seems very clear to me that within that statement I accept that some members of staff do agree with Paul from Greenock, therefore making your assumption that I seek to represent all staff as sharing my point of view, totally ridiculous. My statement goes on, “... but they do not represent me or anyone else on the staff with whom I have spoken”. This is fact – they do not represent me: they do not represent any other member of staff with whom I have spoken. They clearly represent you, No 139, but I clearly haven’t spoken to you nor you to me. Contributor 139, are you suggesting that you know the views of every member of staff and can state with confidence that no-one else apart from me disagrees with some of the “facts” being bandied about on this forum? If not, then you cannot disprove my belief that there are other members of staff who don’t agree with this pack mentality that the school is “sub-standard” and “pupils’ education is suffering”. I do not seek to represent all my colleagues but neither will I accept representation by those members of staff who agree completely or otherwise with Paul from Greenock.
Paul from Greenock, I would genuinely like to know what response the school gave when you telephoned for the fourth time to complain that your son had, for the fourth time, received no lunch; whether or not an appointment was made for you to come in to discuss this matter; what assurances you were given and whether or not a packed lunch had been supplied by you, as your son was telling you should be the case, after his experience in the first week. That last statement may seem facetious but I can assure you it has a bearing on the seriousness of the situation – a child who is constantly hungry would be a concern to any teacher, especially if the child’s parents had not provided a packed lunch as officially requested by the school – I take it, by the way that this was an official request by the school and not an off-the-cuff remark by a member of staff? No doubt you will feel, “I shouldn’t have to provide a packed lunch !” – I would agree with you because I would feel the same; nevertheless I would provide it, in order to stop my child going hungry. But it seems, if your child has indeed missed lunch four times, that you haven’t provided a packed lunch, instead you have gambled your child’s hunger on the ability of the school to feed him. Only you will know the reason why. I would also wonder how it could be the case that on one particular day, your son “had” to stand outside in the rain because there was no space, when this has never happened again and yet the school roll hasn’t fallen and the building hasn’t been extended. Doesn’t this prove my point that there is space? I ask again, where is your evidence, Paul from Greenock, that the building is sub-standard? We hear so much from this forum about the school being a disaster, education suffering, sub-standard building, accommodation not being suitable, cramped and dangerous conditions, children not being able to concentrate because of sound transference from the music department, the vast majority demanding actions ... the list goes on. Where is the hard evidence for this? Anecdotal evidence is of no value in this situation. The only evidence seems to be the report about to be published and mentioned on this very website and the visit of the independent timetabling expert mentioned here and I’m sorry to report that neither support your arguments put forth on this forum.
I simply ask, if all this doom and gloom is true and not just hysteria, why has the school been passed with a clean bill of health by educational timetabling experts, fire and rescue experts (who visited the school three times) and health and safety officers (who visited twice)? Are you suggesting that the independent educational timetabling expert is either incompetent or not independent and if so, do you judge him as an educational timetabling expert yourself? Are you also suggesting that the Strathclyde fire and rescue experts are incompetent or not independent and if so, do you judge them as a fire and safety expert yourself? Are you further suggesting that the council’s health and safety officers are incompetent and if so do you judge them as a health and safety officer yourself? Clearly the last group is not independent because it is part of the council but are you therefore suggesting that this group’s reporting has been dishonest? Are you lastly suggesting that the Parent Council, who have been heavily involved in this topic over the last months and who have issued a public statement that they are satisfied that issues are being resolved, are incompetent? If so, are you on the Parent Council? If you are, why were you unable to persuade the other members of your argument? If you are not : why not? You should be. I only ask these questions to discover what real evidence there is for some of the things being peddled as fact on this forum.
Despite your assertion, Paul from Greenock, I never dismiss the views of pupils easily, but I’m sure even you would not argue that many 6th year students will happily spend hours socializing in a crowded club without complaint. That being the case, and before you begin to holler “This is a place of education, a state-of-the-art high school, not Word Up on a Saturday night!” let me tell you that the 6th years who have complained directly to me are referring to their social area; an area where they can sit and chat and socialize like they do in a club, but without the alcohol: not about a place of education. The classrooms are plenty big enough to ensure that no 6th year subject is cramped and any 6th year who wishes peace and quiet to study can visit the library, or if that is not convenient, could always ask a teacher if he or she would mind said 6th year pupil sitting quietly at the back of a classroom and studying – I won’t speak for all teachers but I would not refuse and I would imagine neither would a number of others.
It seems to me that this is a simple case of some people being still decidedly aggrieved that they lost the argument over the school amalgamation a few years ago and they simply won’t let it lie. But hey ... as I’ve said before, that’s only my opinion and I know it won’t satisfy you. However, despite the facetious remarks, implying that my opinion makes me unsuitable to teach for “the sake of all our children”, the indignant shock that an educator could disagree with you and the dreadful worry my attitude has caused, you’ll simply have to accept that I am entitled to it ... you did, after all, ask for members of staff’s’ opinions (although to be fair to you, you did make it clear that you only wanted to hear from staff who agreed with you) ...
A concerned teacher
143/ We have all put in complaints and voiced opinions which on the whole are being dismissed -- it's time for action -- we need a public meeting with councillors etc, so that we can properly debate this and I would also back an independent outside body investigation into these concerns we all have. PLEASE COUNCILLORS STOP FOBBING US OFF, as a parent of a fourth year pupil who has loved school since starting in primary one and is now seriously unhappy. I'm very worried. You are toying with her future and the future of more than 1000 other children
144/ Re a concerned teacher, thankfully I am not the sort of person who takes things personally however I am going to take exception to one quote you have made! You stated and I quote directly: 'instead you have gambled your child’s hunger on the ability of the school to feed him.' I have never GAMBLED with anything do to with my children's health, wellbeing, education or morality! Your comments are a disgrace and, if you believe this, YOU are a disgrace!
I have called the school on FOUR occasions and been told each time that there are, as you also said, teething problems that have now been addressed and it wouldn't happen again! I shouldn't have to gamble anything; the school should be able to feed him and every other pupil if need be! Why has he had to stand outside only once? I don't know; maybe the other days he was lucky enough to have a seat in the canteen, read the posts properly and you will see he was told to get up from the seat and leave the canteen. That is why they HAD to stand outside!
You hide behind anonymity. I am happy to meet with you and anyone else on this forum and I will gladly point out the flaws in this school, which are of course only my opinion! They include poorly fitted windows, poor sound insulation, poor sports facilities, a park that the SFA banned several years ago! Disgraceful! Not to mention my main concern the fact that it is 26 per cent over populated!!
Again 'a concerned teacher' I ask for a public meeting, for all to air their views. I'll be there, will you?! To answer lots of other points you have raised, health and safety are not independent and as such should be dismissed; again like many others, I ask for INDEPENDENT health and safety experts to visit the school! Fire and Rescue I hold in the highest regard but when you have prior knowledge of a fire alarm test and have your jackets on ready then the results are not valid. The timetable expert I concede I can not comment on!
Now, as for wishing to keep an argument going about the amalgamation of the schools; I was fully in FAVOUR of the schools coming together, what I didn't like was the school design and pupil roll which I have been vocal about since the beginning!
I am classed as an 'expert' in how territorial issues affect communities and how they can benefit from social interaction and inclusion and as such I can see the full benefits of this school, if it was fit for purpose but sadly it is not!
I am glad other teachers are now posting on this forum because unlike you, 'a concerned teacher', not everyone thinks the school is perfect and more importantly I (and many others on here) can see that you are not representative of the teachers of the school!
You shout very loudly, putting down others who dare to raise issues, talking about democracy and freedom of speech, just remember that applies both ways!!!
145/ 'Concerned Teacher' has far too much time on his/her hands judging by the expansive content of their contributions to this debate. If this individual can find the time to compose essay-style replies to other posters, despite claiming that they would bow out of 'this rammy', it is arguable that their focus of attention isn't where it should be. He/she is entitled to their opinion just as we are entitled to ours. However, I'm going to concentrate my efforts on people who are accountable for what they say. 'Concerned teacher' can't be held accountable for anything said on this forum. Responding to him/her is a waste of time.
146/ I am beginning to think that the "concerned teacher" is
a) - either not a teacher at all.
b) - is describing a different school from the one I have visited on several occasions.
c) - Is Mr McCabe himself - incognito!
I quote - "The classrooms are plenty big enough to ensure that no Sixth Year subject is cramped." On my recent visit to the school, a large group of Sixth Year students was sitting in the English corridor in the "flexible learning area" with their teacher being taught a lesson. They were clustered round the table and some things struck me -
a) - was there no classroom for them?
b) - it was cold in the corridor, in fact it was freezing!
c) - the light was poor.
d) - there was no electronic white board which links up to the computer; in fact there was no board of any description for the teacher to write on.
e) - there were distractions from anyone who happened to be walking along the corridor.
It seemed a poor learning environment. They would not have been taught in a corridor in Greenock Academy or Gourock High yet that is acceptable at the flagship Clydeview.
An independent enquiry must be carried out as soon as possible and, in the meantime, high quality temporary accommodation brought in to stop this farce
Still concerned parent
147/ Dear, oh dear - now my right to hold a different opinion has me branded a disgrace! A little over the top, don't you think? Now, even how I spend my free time is being questioned. Again, a huge over-reaction ... rather like this whole farrago - people getting hysterical to the extent of mud-slinging ... tut tut tut. No wonder the councillors won't meet with you. Once again not one single shred of hard evidence to back up the claims on this forum. The word to gamble means to take a risk. You took a risk that your son would be fed, despite evidence to the contrary, on four separate occasions, and despite the fact that your son, who apparently "under-exaggerates things rather than over" specifically asked you for a packed lunch ... it seems that you are indeed the one who dismissed a pupil's opinion by, yes, gambling. I think it's been made clear that despite what you say, the school has passed all the required tests. By all means carry on your crusade and raise your blood pressure even higher. Call the councillors and health and safety officers a disgrace too if it will appease you - it's fairly clear that you'll not be happy until we all agree with you and you can finally say, "See, I was right all along".
A concerned teacher
148/ After their initial comment, I had some sympathy with 'a concerned teacher' but since that first post, their subsequent long-winded and pedantic contributions have become personal, rather boring and now miss the whole point. I would agree with the teacher in one sense that, in the great educational scheme of things, it doesn't matter that Sixth year kids have to find somewhere other than their common room to hang out. It doesn't matter, educationally we are told, that classes are in corridors. It doesn't matter that lunches may take longer to serve. It doesn't matter that the dance studio cannot be used because it has a concrete floor. Educationally, these issues do not matter apparently.
Here is what does matter - that for all of the bluster from 'concerned teacher', Inverclyde Council employees, councillors and their advisers - a £27million school has been built which falls seriously short on what this community should expect for such a long-term drain on the public purse. That is nothing short of a scandal and I contend that Audit Scotland should be invited to investigate how such a flagship project could have been so badly planned by our Council. That is the issue for me. I actually do not believe that my daughter's education will be compromised whilst she is a pupil at Clydeview and I have utmost faith in the management and staff at the school. That does not excuse the employees and elected members of the Council who signed off on the architectural brief and failed to anticipate the 'what if' scenario of the legal process finding against the council's placing procedures. The two former schools were academically the most successful in Inverclyde. Go figure!
Having said all of that, classes shouldn't be in corridors in a new school. Sixth Year kids should have a common room three times the size of the one planned. The dance studio should have a sprung floor etc. etc.
It's too late to do anything about the school now. Portable huts would be an enormous (and probably unneccessary) embarrassment. The council are on the record as saying that the roll will fall to its planned level within a few years. That may or may not be the case, but it should not let the people responsible for this fiasco escape without accountability. We can dump the Labour administration at the elections next year if that is the will of the voters, but there are senior employees of the Council who appear to have made errors of judgement and who should be accountable within the terms of an independent review of the whole project.
149/ I am a Fifth Year pupil of the school. I would just like to comment on the points made by Concerned Teacher. These are just some questions I think we should consider.
Yes, he/she may be right in the fact that all these teething problems may not effect our long-term education. But sir/madam, as a possible teacher of mine, would you like to see a Higher/Int 2/Standard Grade etc class suffer because "teething issues" turned out to be a bigger problem? Are you willing to risk the Higher pass results at Clydeview going down from the good rates of Greenock Academy and Gourock High that have been praised for years? Are you willing to see students struggle more to get into uni placements and work as they do not have the results to enter easily to the "real world" of higher education and work. The economy is already suffering dearly and students and employees are already feeling the brunt of it. Should we be the "guinea pigs" of future years? And just as another point on the side, I can assure you the sound-proofing in the music department is of horrible standard. I have a physics lesson taken there once a week and you can trust me in saying that you can in fact hear the music coming from other classrooms, and yes that may not interrupt normal lessons but, for revision lessons before NABs and assessment, I hardly want to listen to someone shrieking clarinet or violin. Now I can find many positives within Clydeview but I think everyone can agree there are still some areas that need to be met. Personally I think it is a great thing so many parents, students and teachers are willing to stand up and air their vioce whatever their opinion but we need to find a way round this together. Putting words into people's mouths and being inconsiderate of opinions will not help. We are one school, we are all part of Clydeview and to get it to work we need to stop being so big-headed about what we think is right and try to meet on some common ground.
A concerned fifth year
150/ Having attended the Parent Council (PC) meeting on Monday, as observers not a members, the point was made by the PC that they had received very few direct communications from parents. When the question was asked what it would take to call a public meeting with Inverclyde Council via the PC we were informed that we required five per cent of the parents from Clydeview Academy to directly request for it to be called. As proactive parents we have organised a Clydeview Parent Forum Facebook page to allow parents to come together and work towards getting this meeting called at the soonest possible date.
151/ Concerned teacher, do you actually read posts, both other people’s and your own prior to your personal nasty and more importantly inaccurate comments?! Not once did I say having your own opinion was disgraceful. If you actually looked at the post properly, I said your personal comments regarding me 'gambling' with my child's hunger were a disgrace and I stand by that comment 100 per cent and if you cannot see that a parent can raise a legitimate concern without personal remarks THEN YOU ARE A DISGRACE!!!! I know full well the dictionary definition of 'gamble' and again I repeat, there is no gamble involved -- Clydeview Academy has a LEGAL requirement to provide school meals!! Now to play your silly little games, do you Sir or Madam know anything about me? My family situation? My financial situation? Do you know if my child qualifies and receives FREE school meals? Do you know if I can afford to provide a packed lunch? You 'concerned teacher' are making a lot of assumptions! How do you know my blood pressure is high? Have you seen me? Have you examined me? Are you a qualified doctor with an MBCHB qualification?? Don't assume anything about me or my family -- stick to the facts! You get proved wrong on many issues by many people but still you are the only one right because you work there! You make personal inaccurate comments and contribute nothing to what was a civilised forum! I just hope you don't teach my child!!!
152/ I would like to put it in perspective on how the school does not allow its pupils to go elsewhere for lunch in the school, but would rather "herd" us all up in the same place! Pupils tried to find their own little "place" in Clydeview because of the overcrowding and ours was under a staircase. No harm you say? No! After a polite word from a head of a department, we moved on. Just doing as we were told. This happened six times but on the seventh time came the worst excuse. This teacher came marching down, obviously in a bad mood from his last class. We all new what was coming next, but, I quote, "Right Boys! Move! This is a fire exit! And you are all blocking it!" To all the teachers that have used this excuse, use your common sense! Are we really going to stand in the way of pupils and teachers getting out of a fire!? No! We will be the first people out of the building!
A 5th year pupil
153/ Thank you to all the parents who have been contacting CPF. As stated above (comment 150) we are aiming for five per cent of all parents of Clydeview pupils to get involved to secure a public meeting via the Parent Council. Many parents have already informed us that they are being told they are one of very few who are requesting something needs to be done, this is obviously not the case. In order to do this, one parent per child must contact the Parent Council directly via post or e-mail stating that they are requesting a public meeting. The e-mail address is:
. Once you have sent your email can you please let us know? This way we can keep track of the numbers, our e-mail address is
. We are also looking to contact parents who are actively trying to get some reassurance from the council, councillors and other avenues that they are willing to address the issues. It would be of interest to us to know how they are getting on and where they are in the process.
154/ A concerned teacher, I am a parent of two children attending Clydeview at present and am unsatisfied with the school. The reason I am unsatisfied is because MY CHILDREN complain of problems. As a teacher I am astounded that you feel their voices should not be listened to! If indeed you are very happy with the school there is absolutely no reason for anonymity. Give us your name!
Irene Frizzell, Greenock
Why has it taken until NOW for parents to voice concerns. Surely common sense tells you 1,200 pupils CANNOT be accommodated in a building suitable for only 950. Where did they think the quick-fix was coming from? Is it a case of don’t rock the boat in case we lose our SUPERSCHOOL. I agree some teething problems will occur and, as a parent, would be concerned. Again common sense would influence me to speak reasonably with the school rather than bad mouth it. Some of the complaints are every day requests in any school eg lockers. Both my kids attend St Columba’s and are not fortunate enough to have a locker which means they ALSO have to carry heavy bags around even when they have PE which includes swimming. Never have I bombarded the school or websites demanding the right for them to have one. Poor sports facilities – you are having a laugh. Again my kids DONT have the PLEASURE of 2G or 3G pitches -- have you seen the blaze gravel pitch at their campus? I think the SFA banned this surface long before the Astroparks! Don’t worry, in winter the children will get to school -- we did it for years. Do what my kids did, get your wellies on and leave slightly earlier!
My son will have been at three different buildings by the end of his secondary education -- the third move when he is sitting his Highers. We at the moment are concentrating on both kids achieving all they can. My kids have been moved from their school, witnessed all the other new schools built, seen facilities given to these schools which they have not got YET, and never complain. I am a proud parent and fortunate enough that my kids have coped with the upheaval splendidly. I feel this has happened as parents and teachers are working together to ensure this. I long for the day my kids get THEIR new school (well refurbished). I hope I don’t bombard websites with anonymity. I hope I will be adult about it and voice my concerns to the school.
As a resident of Gourock, both my kids thought of attending Gourock High School; thankfully they were dissuaded as WE foresaw the problems. Why didn’t other parents? Give the school time to overcome teething problems -- instead you are fuelling each complaint which is now turning into hysteria.
156/ Thank you to those who have taken practical steps to establish what is needed to call a public meeting to address the problems at Clydeview Academy, and to Inverclyde Now for allowing that information to be shared on this forum.
For those with children in St Columba's -- I can understand your frustration, especially now that the new Notre Dame is open. It is a fantastic school, well-designed and planned with plenty of space, also undersubscribed. Why don't you send your children there?
157/ As for Concerned Teacher’s suggestion that “any Sixth Year who wishes peace and quiet to study can visit the library”, I presume he means the local library at Kempock Place as the school library is being used for teaching because of the shortage of classrooms. It makes me wonder if Concerned Teacher is a teacher in the school as he/she would know that the library is used as a classroom.
158/ Re post 156; complaining of overcrowding at Clydeview Academy and demanding a public meeting while advising a parent of a St Columba's pupil to send their child to the Notre Dame if they aren't happy -- you couldnt make this stuff up. What’s good for the goose clearly isn’t good for the gander.
159/ To post 158 - Sending my child to undersubscribed Notre Dame instead of overcrowded Clydeview has certainly crossed my mind. However that would involve putting my child into an educational environment steeped in a religious ethos to which we don't subscribe. This is a consideration that obviously doesn't apply to anyone who already has their children in a Catholic school. I can see the point you are trying to make but you are not making a like for like comparison. I have no axe to grind with you or anyone else about Notre Dame or St Columba's. What puzzles me is why you seem to resent me speaking up for my children's educational rights.
160/ Post 159, I can accept and sympathise with your argument that you don't wish to send your child to Notre Dame because of the religious aspect of that school ... so what about sending him or her to Inverclyde Academy? It's a nice new building and undersubscribed and it strikes me that with all of these parents complaining about overcrowding affecting their children's education, they should leave Clydeview en masse and put in placement requests for Inverclyde Academy. Clydeview's roll would fall to the desired level and likewise Inverclyde's would rise. Problem solved, surely?
161/ Re post 160 -- You make a very valid point. Inverclyde Academy is an excellent school which is why I suspect it is not as 'undersubscribed' as you may think. There may be a few spaces, but moving children 'en masse' from Clydeview to Inverclyde Academy would only shift a serious overcrowding situation from one school to another. The point, of course, is that before Inverclyde Council committed themselves to build Clydeview with a capacity of only 950 pupils they had a responsibility to consider the following;
There has always been a propensity for placing requests to both Gourock High and Greenock Academy. They needed to stop these for the 950 roll to work. Logic would suggest that that would involve a detailed look at their legal position re placing requests before they went ahead with a school that would accommodate only pupils from feeder primaries. They obviously didn't do this, which is why we have the current mess.
Could I state that I very much appreciate everything that Mr Todd and his staff are doing at Clydeview. They are trying to make the best of a difficult situation. Responsibility, in my view, lies with Inverclyde Council. I think their reluctance to concede the point that temporary accommodation, which could be put up with relatively little disruption, would alleviate overcrowding and improve pupils' experience is more about avoiding an embarrassing u-turn than anything else. Our children deserve better.
162/ Christine from Gourock, let’s hope when your children move into the newly £20million refurbished school for less than 500 pupils, they don’t experience what these children have had to put up with; overcrowded, taught in corridors, classroom in the library which is supposed to be a quiet area, dining room that does not have enough room, yes a 2G pitch instead of 3G,. Let’s not forget Christine we are talking about a state-of-the-art new school, oh and of course, the dance studio with a concrete floor. These children deserve better.
163/ It is with sadness that I read the many comments from “Concerned Teacher”. The tone of these submissions strikes me as arrogant, verging on abusive. I don’t think this is the way any teacher should address parents who feel aggrieved, whether there is just cause for such opinions or not. In a letter to the Telegraph, Mr McCabe has admitted that there is a concern. He has stated that the council actually considered adding to the accommodation. Why did they not proceed down this road? It was not because the accommodation was adequate, but because the council was afraid that increasing the accommodation could have had an adverse effect on the other schools in the area. If we accept that there is a problem, then would the best way forward not be to hold a public meeting where parents could voice their concerns or their support for the school and the education department could do what they can to alleviate such concerns as are raised? Such a forum would provide the opportunity to gauge the extent of the concerns, rather than making comments under the cover of anonymity. Carping at each other over the Inverclyde Now forum will do nothing to build trust between teachers, pupils and parents. However, if the pupils and parents who feel that they have genuine concerns are given no other forum to express their views, then what else can they do? I would ask “concerned teacher” to desist from aggravating the situation by continuing to post comments on this forum. His or her input is now unhelpful. I am not writing this from a position of ignorance, nor in an attempt to stifle free speech. I just feel that the arguments are becoming far too personal to be of benefit to anyone. I taught in Gourock High School for 28 years and I believe that it is more beneficial to try to alleviate parental concerns through discussion face to face. I will not be responding again to any of the articles submitted, but felt that I had to appeal to “concerned teacher” to withdraw from further “point-scoring” via this forum.
Ian A. Blair
164/ Well done Inverclyde Now for giving the people of Inverclyde a voice about Clydeview Academy. Even with all the 162 comments so far, the council don’t want to know. All the parents want is a face-to-face meeting with councillors. Surely as elected members of this council, they should face the people who elected them. Keep up the good work Inverclyde Now.
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