Saturday, December 08, 2007

St Angela's School to Close

Ian Day writes:

"I was greatly saddened to see in the Gazette newspaper yesterday, that St Angela's School in Westgate is to close.

They have always had such delightful children at the school, well behaved and polite, a real credit to them all.

Can you post their closure onto your blog to see if we can raise they're profile and try and show our support for the School and their excellent staff?"

Ed: Quite right Ian, it seems a great shame to see the school close but other than reflect your sentiments and applaud the staff for all their fine work withthe children, past and present, I think it's a sign of the times.


Tony Beachcomber said...

One of my niece's go to that school, I know it is a bit of a posh school , but it is a sucess and it is a shame to see something sucessful close. In Thanet we do seem to see our sucesses closing or being threatend with closure to often.

Tony Beachcomber said...

I should have gone that school when I was little, so I would be able to spell success without having to look up spell check.

Anonymous said...

How strange! The Ursuline College tells it's staff that it has a deficit of £180,000 due to it's new sports hall. There is no money to cover sick or absent staff. All department budgets have been frozen, so no money for books or paper!

Record so far is four classes all together in the hall being looked after by the Headteacher who leaves this month!

Now the staff are told that there will be redundancies as well to pay for the white elephant sports hall that cannot be fully used due to planning requirements not being complied with; fixing the Canterbury Road entrance.

Then suddenly, the successful and recently refurbished and expanded St Angela's is to close. Is it a coincidence or is one being sacrificed to save the other!

Its happened before!

Anonymous said...

There were rumours circulating earlier this year that this school would close and they were denied by the Ursulines. This is the end of Independent Catholic Education in Thanet, a tradition began over 125 years ago, and is very sad news indeed. Westgate has had St Augustine's close in the mid 90s; the Independent Ursuline College go Voluntary Aided and now St Angela's is closing.
I feel sympathy for the staff and in particular for the head, Peter Yearsley, who was only recently appointed and it does beg the question about what he was told about the future of the school he was taking over.
Is St.Angela's the victim of looming recession or are there other reasons as 9.39 implies? Mr Yearsley makes the interesting comment in the IOTG that "We're hidden behind the Ursuline site and that's something we've had to fight against."
As a local resident for almost 25 years, I and my neighbours have missed the good manners and excellent behaviour that was the hallmark of boys and girls from the Ursuline Convent and St.Augustines and I fully endorse Ian Days comments about St Angela's pupils; the present generation at Ursuline are quite different and rudeness and poor behaviour in the street, at the bus stop and by Westgate station lets their school and teachers down.

Anonymous said...

As our local Cllr, you said on your thread of 6th July that you would look into the Community use of the quite splendid new Sportshall at Ursuline including your own martial arts club! I have been told that Westgate Cricket Club had tried to get access to facilities for indoor training during the winter without success. With the Sportshall at Ethelberts nearing completion, are Westgate clubs and groups and the community as a whole,ever going to share the benefit of having not one but two, superb facilities made available for Community use?

DrMoores said...

I was told that I would be informed when it was available. There were a number of issues that had to be resolved in respect of who would be running it after hours and public access to the school grounds. Of course if I hear anything I will let people know!

Lucy Mail said...

I'm not sure that a 'marital arts club' would be entirely appropriate in a school sports hall, even if it's a Roman Catholic school. I seem to remember the Python team outlining this in the 80's.
Still, it's encouraging to note that you would be instructing the class yourself, Dr Moores.
Where do you find the time?

DrMoores said...

They already have Karate classes at the school I believe and martial arts instruction is entirely appropriate at any school.

Unfortunately, council committments make it increasingly difficult for me to attend class as regularly I would like.

Michael Child said...

When I asked about the future of Chatham House, Clarendon, Hereson and Ellington schools. One local politician suggested a schools cluster at Pysons road. What about locating all of the schools on one large campus in the Westwood Cross area chaps, it would certainly make the school run interesting.

Isn’t it a shame that the best schools always seem to be the ones people want to close or mess about with, one thing we are all going to have to face is that schools and everything else leaving our towns so ultimately the buildings can be sold for residential development in order to fund what remains is not environmentally sustainable.

Anonymous said...

If what 9.39 says is true , how can one of Thanet's most successful non-grammars be in a financial mess?

Look at the statistics for GCSEs in 2006 League Tables in Thanet(I couldn't get 2007 figures):
5 GCSEs (A -C,including English and Maths)
Ursuline 36%
Ellington Girls 30%
Charles Dickens 28%
Hereson 18%
Hartsdown 16%
Marlowe 5%

So we have £millions spent on Marlowe to re-inforce failure; Ellington having to merge and Ursuline in funding difficulty despite a large 6th form, waiting lists and the best results in Thanet? Is this KCC discriminating against a catholic school or just crazy funding sources from Central Labour Government? Does this mean that Ethelberts will get its Sports Hall with no debt whilst Ursuline has had to fund its Sports Hall differently from normal school funding? What a mess!

Michael Child said...

3.08 makes you wonder where the bursar went to school, however as far as I can see much of the problem here is to do with the targets and emphasis being entirely academic. You can’t really get away from the fact that the children without academic abilities are going to have to be educated somewhere.

Let us suppose that everyone achieved an academic education that lasted until they were 21 where they all obtained a university degree, who is going to build the houses and roads of work on the factory floor. Part of the problem is one of the educational snobbery of Major and Blair, part of it that a good plumber has much less status in our society than a literary critic or a bureaucrat but worst of all is all the disruptive children who don’t want to work at all gravitate to where the plumber is trying to get his education, so no I don’t resent the higher budgets being allocated to the worse schools.

I think it was Shaw who sail, “lies, dammed lies and statistics,” we are becoming a country striving to obtain the right statistic while everyone is aware that our society is falling apart.

Anonymous said...

There appears to be some contradiction here in what is being said!

On the St Angela’s web site, the following comment is made,
“The school was founded by the Ursuline Sisters in 1998 and enjoys the many advantages of being on the same campus as the Ursuline College”.

And yet in the Gazette, the headteacher states,
“We’re hidden behind the Ursuline site and that’s something we’ve had to fight against”.

Is the closure due to lack of pupils, or a lack of interest on the part of the diocese who have other intentions for the site and have therefore allowed the numbers to drop?

Anonymous said...

Considering your involvement in Westgate, I am suprised that you consider this rather important matter to warrant nothing more than the aside,"I think it's a sign of the times"!

DrMoores said...

I'm a local councillor and not the Archbishop of Southwark. My limited responsibilities do not include the direction of private faith schools.

The sign of the times aspect remains pretty clear among local private schools as parents struggle to balance their own educational priorities with rising inflation, food, fuel etc.

Anonymous said...

I hate to hear news of any school closure because of the effect on its pupils and staff, and this closure is clearly bad news for all involved. Is this the early signs of recession or are there other factors involved.?
I was in The Winter Gardens this afternoon with the Salvation Army and was charmed by the singing from our other Westgate Independent School, Chartfield. Are they also under threat from falling rolls due to recession?

Anonymous said...

I think 11.19 has hit the nail here. In what was the better old days, the children from St. Angela's, would have moved up to the Ursuline. However, if you now look at the terrible behaviour of the Ursuline students, especially the so called sports academy members, it's no wonder St. Angela's numbers have dropped. The parents don't want their kids mixing with the foul mouthed and unruly yobs that now inhabit the Ursuline College!

Anonymous said...

It may have been successful, but like all other private schools, it is only successful for those who have the money to be able to go. If these teachers are so good then bring them into the state sector and let them use their skills in normal sized classes. I suspect that given larger numbers and fewer resources (including less teaching support) you may find they aren't the wonders they are extolled as being now.

Please Sir said...

But maybe the teachers would rather teach disciplined and polite children than be poorly-paid social workers?

Think of Hartsdown or the Marlowe and then decide!

Anonymous said...

You might find it interesting to ponder on this 12.33. Is it perhaps that smaller classes are more effective per se (educational research points to 16 ideal and 20 max)and that might be why Scotland (subsidised by the English taxpayer) is aiming for smaller classes as policy. The other factor you might consider is that when people save and scrimp and do without to send their children to an independent school, they value what they are paying for and so do their children and learning is effective in a quiet self-disciplined environment. We should be attempting to emulate the private sector in our state schools not decrying it as you seem to be doing. 'Yaboo sucks'is a negative approach expected from the old class fixated Labour party.

Anonymous said...

No, I trained in primary with many who were training to get into the private sector because they didn't have to do as much to earn their money!! And people obviously aren't scrimping, saving and going without or the numbers would be up and the school wouldn't be closing. I applied for an admin job at St Angela's in June and was told quite starkly that the job would be to sell spaces.

Anonymous said...

You didn't accept the post, luckily, 12.51! If you read the ATL magazine you will find that the problem facing many staff in Independent Schools is not that 'don't have to do less for their money' but the reverse; excessive work loads and hours! As a matter of interest, were you made aware when you applied for the admin post, that St Angela's was in difficulty, as a previous post suggests that rumours were circulating earlier this year!

Anonymous said...

11.17 perhaps you would be kind enough to be specific in your comments about the supposed Ursuline "yobs". I am around the general area of the school daily and see little more than kids larking about and being kids. In fact I am always amazed at the good behaviour of both Ursuline and Ethelberts students when they're all walking down the Canterbury Road together. Twenty five years ago in North London, the police were daily in attendance to keep two such schools separate for fear of mass punch-ups.
You're entitled to your opinion but should steer clear of sweeping generalisations based on prejudice and spend a little effort in getting some facts.

Anonymous said...

Yes 9:55 and the covering letter said VERY clearly that the main role of the appointed person would be to increase roll numbers. As I am not a salesperson I did not even apply!!

DrMoores said...

I am concerned by the tone of a number of potentially defamatory comments being made on this thread in regard to two demonstrably succesful schools. As 11:17 points out, kids are kids and I don't believe it is either fair or correct to tar all the Ursuline students with the same brush. The same would be true of any school.

In regard to the Ursuline, it appears, from previous stories, that we have an anonymous individual posting on this site with an "axe to grind" against the school and I would treat what you read with "A pinch of salt"

Anonymous said...

It is my experience, Doc, that some Thanetonians still hold anti-catholic prejudices that persist in this country; why was Tony Blair advised to play his possible conversion down by his spin doctors?
On the other hand it sounds as if you have another 'R. Card' type beating a drum; a neighbour, perhaps,with a big sports-hall at the bottom of their garden?

Anonymous said...

You obviously have the inside track and know the truth regarding the so called rumours mentioned above regarding the Ursuline!

Therefore, exactly which bits have you been told to tell us to take with a pinch of salt?

Dance puppet, dance!

DrMoores said...

You last comment, 7:17 rather supports my suggest that several of the allegations made in this thread need to be treated "with a pinch of salt."

It's not for me to add fuel to a thread with more than its apparent share of half truths. I would suggest that in view of of your marked antipathy towards the school, that we simply draw a line through this discussion and move on. Other readers being intelligent enough to draw their own conclusions!

Anonymous said...

i am glad that the person at 10.58 took the person of 11.17 to task.

Of course most youngsters in any school are decent and a credit to their school so 11.17 is obviously a little bitter and twisted and quite rightly should not tar all children with the same brush. However, my experience in Westgate is that a minority of Ursuline pupils do let their school down which is such a pity for any school. On the other hand my view may be warped by my memories of a few years ago when behaviour of all Ursuline Convent pupils I met was always such a credit to their school and the nuns who run it. I suppose such high standards are hard to maintain when so many adults these days are foul-mouthed and rude and set such a bad example to the younger generation.

What is such a pity though is the awfully sad news that the school for those lovely little primary children is closing. In the Vinery yesterday,having a scone and pot of tea,I couldn't help being a nosy parker as two women were talking about money problems at Ursuline College too. One was saying how a teacher had said to their child that their subject had no money to buy text books; the other said how her daughter was in a hall with other classes because their was no money to pay replacement teachers and that rumours were flying around about teachers having to be cut.I hope that the Ursuline Convent won't go the same way as St. Angela's and have to close. Those lovely nuns would be heart-broken.

Anonymous said...

My God 10'08! Call Derek Accorah at once!
Strange and mystical forces are at work here in Westgate. Why?
Of all the things that could happen to you, you just happen to sit next to two Ursuline parents who just happen to be discussing the funding books and keeping kids in the hall story when you are there at that exact moment and within earshot. You missed the conversations about Christmas, relatives, shopping, the weather, mortgages, health, chocolate, sex, husbands, divorces, deaths, shoes, handbags, makeup and the current state of geo-politics etc.
No,no. When you sat down they started to talk almost word-for-word the vitriol posted by 9:39!
Nice try!
Bit clumsy!
Good mock concern!
Liked the touch about the scones!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I was almost weeping into my beer, 10.34 as well! Nice try, Norah Batty? I liked the 'Convent'touch myself; as its been Ursuline College for years now!

That said, 10.34, what was vitriolic about the 9.39 posting? I know some organisations dislike leaks of internal information but as a casual observer of Thanet Bloglife I cannot understand what all the fuss is about. Can you? For goodness sake, there are loads of schools up and down the country with horrible budgetary decisions to make and if a bit of belt tightening is called for, then it happens, end of story. A bit horrible whilst its happening but as they say 's**t happens' no big deal!

Anonymous said...

By the way,10.34 who is Derek Accorah? Never heard of the bloke?

Anonymous said...

Dr Moores, thank you for the opportunity to, as you say, draw my own conclusions. You might not like them though!

This thread seems to have had a lot of rumour. A rumour can be spread by anyone about anything!

Your last reference however was to half truths! Now only someone who knows the truth could identify a half truth!

If you knew of these 'half truths' earlier, then you could have made some effort to stop this thread by stating these. Ie I can catagorically state that this is true, this is not, and this is rumour!

As you have waited a week and a half to acknowledge 'half truths' one can only assume that you are only now aware of these half truths, thereby coming to the inevitable conclusion that someone has told you things which you believe to be true!

If that is the case, then it is rather unbloggish to try and terminate your own thread on a third parties behalf, whoever that party might be!

There is a huge raft of difference between the rumours that may be present in this thread, and the 'half truths' that you now are alluding to!

As you stated, I am making my own conclusions, and I fear you are not as independent in thought as you have been.

Anonymous said...

Now the world is getting older
There's a few things to be said
Do you believe the things they told you
Do you believe the things you've read

There's a rumour on the corner
But it's always been denied
Cause they don't want you any wiser
You're just toeing the party line

You don't believe the information
You don't believe it when it's denied
So when you're reading explanations
You have to read between the lines

Mike Rutherford

DrMoores said...

"If that is the case, then it is rather unbloggish to try and terminate your own thread on a third parties behalf, whoever that party might be!"

Referring to 12:43, this thread is being fuelled by what appears to be a single source of speculation. As, believe it or not, I do have other things to occupy my time, I only caught up with the content some way through. Also, believe it or not, it's very simple for me to get on the phone and check some of the details. However, it's not for me to represent a third-party here and I don't have the time or the inclination, beyond commenting that the thread is riddled with half truths is vaguely malicious in parts and the content best ignored for what it is.

What started with a note about St Angela's appears to have evolved into an attack on the Ursuline College, an excellent local faith school with an equally good reputation and results. All schools are "feeling the pinch" these days, perhaps with the exception of the well-funded "Academies".

The head-teacher has recently announced her appointment to the Ursuline order in Rome, which says a great deal about her ability and professionalism as an educator. Without doubt, the school and the community it serves will miss her.

Finally, if I trawled back through the logs - which I don't have time to do - I'm pretty sure that the IP address of the person responsible for the present raft of speculation and rumour would tie-up with that of the person who has done the same with previous stories involving the school!

Anonymous said...

The response to some items posted on this thread is interesting. Clearly there is some-one using the story of St. Angela’s to ‘leak’ information about the Ursuline College and the Doc has to make sure that his acceptable use policy is followed so he warns bloggers to avoid defamatory comments. The only defamatory comments seem to be those concerning pupil behaviour.

Many organisations cannot stand this medium as it can be an ‘Anon’ forum for putting into the public domain, information they would rather not have ‘gossiped’ about. It is a mistake for organisations to get involved in the ‘gossip’ forum unless there is libel involved. Such is the nature of ‘bloggers’ that they would see such involvement as an invitation to ‘get stuck in’ as seems to be the case here. The item of 10.58 on Wednesday clearly looks like such a response from Ursuline College.

What is more interesting though is Dr Moores response two hours later at 1.08pm. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that his attention was drawn (by e-mail or telephone call; he is a Westgate Councillor and Ursuline is in his ‘parish’) to items on this and previous stories that have ‘upset’ The Ursuline. Dr Moores then appears to abandon his normal ‘Editorial ‘ stance of holding the ring and ensuring ‘acceptable use’ policy is adhered to and readers are then advised to “treat what they read with a pinch of salt”.

The ‘blogger’ whose items have caused ‘upset’ is now labelled as having an axe to grind and to be inventing stories and the result is like waving a red rag to a bull . 10.08 on Thursday night joins in for what looks like mischief making and almost immediately 10.34 responds but uses the interesting term’vitriol posted by 9.39’. What was vitriolic about 9.39s post (the ‘axe-grinder’ presumably).? A deficit? A tightening of financial belts? Redundancy? Planning problems? Any of these items could apply to any business in the country at the moment. So is Ursuline responding in a war of words on Thanetlife with bloggers? So any possible discussion on budgets, deficits, redundancy is to be ridiculed and ‘taken with a pinch of salt’.?

A good spin doctor at Ursuline would have advised them to ignore ‘rumours’ and ‘gossip’ on a blog forum as the less’comments’ there are, the browsers pass on and the items very quickly disappear. A large number of comments attracts attention and gives those with ‘axes to grind’ just the response they want.

Anonymous said...

I posted 10 58 and I'm not from Ursuline. I'm just sick of working clss or christian schools being slagged off by armchair theorists. If it was a Grammar, Fee paying, Muslim or Jewish school you'd all be keeping suspiciously quiet.

DrMoores said...

What I said was "Several of the allegations made in this thread need to be treated "with a pinch of salt."

Which is correct. By suggesting that a line is drawn under the topic, I agree with 8:49 that " large number of comments attracts attention and gives those with ‘axes to grind’ just the response they want."

Anonymous said...

Repeatedly putting up lies about someone/something in a public forum and proclaiming them as truth seems pretty vitriolic to me!

Anonymous said...

My apologies,9.13.

Am I the only one am I the ony one, seeing double seeing double,anonymous anonymous, on each comment Dr Moores? Dr Moores?

DrMoores said...

Blogger seems to have doubled up on "Anonymous"

I assume its a "Glitch"

grim reaper said...

And if you look really hard you can see, mirrored in the night sky over Kent, stars that correspond exactly to the most important buildings in Margate.

Anonymous said...

I assume, grim reaper, that you might be referring to 'ursa major' which is clear in the northern sky at the moment? (for those who are wondering what is being referred to , look at Ursuline School badge for enlightenment).