Letter to Editor: “I ask MP Robert Halfon, when will my child be going back to SFG College?”

News / Thu 7th Sep 2023 at 10:53am

Dear Editor

IT IS Thursday afternoon, 7th September. I was due to start a new job last Monday, but I couldn’t because of childcare responsibilities. I have children that go to Sir Frederick Gibberd College (SFG) and, as of today, only Year 7 have been allowed back.

My workplace has been understanding, allowing me to stay off until the 11th of September, the date we were initially told all year groups would be back to school. That date subsequently slipped to become all year groups should be back to school in the week beginning 11th September.

Despite asking at last week’s SFG parents’ meeting, a more specific date couldn’t be provided, and it still hasn’t. On the last working day before I am due to start work, I still don’t  know for definite whether school is starting for my child on the 11th, what form that schooling will take, and therefore whether I will be able to start my new job.

This uncertainty is unfair for my child, it’s unfair for me and it’s unfair for my place of work.

I don’t blame the school. The Headteacher Ms. Conlon and her staff have performed miracles in a short time, putting things in place for an emergency that never should have happened. The delay is the fault of the Conservative run DfE, who have not yet given the school clarity on when pupils can return. And these last minute, up to the wire, communications from the DfE are not good enough.

Come on Mr Halfon, you are a Minister in the DfE, pull your finger out. Parents need more time than this to plan balancing childcare and work.

Mark Ingall


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9 Comments for Letter to Editor: “I ask MP Robert Halfon, when will my child be going back to SFG College?”:

2023-09-07 12:51:24

Mark - Maybe you should fine the school for failing to provide an education they are quick enough to do it to parents.

Another Parent
2023-09-08 05:41:33

Looks like your local MP does not like your question? No cheesy jump on the bandwagon gain here. Video (assembly) message yesterday (07/09) was garbled and un-audible, my son had the sound on so I know just how it was bad, the responce well, shall we say was poor. Why was it not recorded?Please supply a transcript and the pictures to the parents, so as we can all understand what was said.

2023-09-08 06:36:55

Dear Mark and other SFG parents and Staff, so very sorry that you and your children are having to go through this. It’s is indeed quite staggering how quiet Mr Halfon has become, especially on top of the RAAC debacle. Perhaps, this is because the press and the Leader of the opposition seem to have neglected to link the two issues so he is keeping a low profile in case they do. They are however very much linked. The solution to incompetence and neglect of the current government with regards to RAAC, will be the proper repair and replacement of school infrastructure. The SFG, however highlights how little confidence we should have in the fowl mouthed Minister and her bungling acolytes like Mr Halfon, in delivering that solution. This Government oversight of the DfE coordination of the building of New schools is nothing short of scandalous. Mr Halfon’s continued silence speaks volumes… We need change… I sincerely hope that you all can get some clarity and that the impact of all this can be minimised, though of course it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

David Forman
2023-09-08 08:48:02

The situation calls for a complete overhaul of Building Regulations compliance, plus a return of government and local authority employed Clerk of Works in the various wet and dry trades. Non-traditional building methods should be banned from public buildings and social housing until they have a proven track record over several decades. The oversight of constructing public buildings should be via state controlled agencies.

2023-09-08 10:00:13

Update. It's Friday lunchtime. I still don't know if my child is back in school on Monday. It really isn't fair to leave things this late.

2023-09-08 10:23:46

Who has lunch at 10am?

Mark Ingall
2023-09-08 15:27:20

So it's half past four on Friday now. I still don't know if my child is attending school on Monday. So I still don't know whether I can go to work on Monday.

2023-09-08 17:50:16

Mr Halfon, Mark is waiting and this is serving your constituents? Enough .. time to get rid of this incompetent, ineffective and irrelevant MP.

Mark Gough
2023-09-09 01:00:50

Notice Mark Ingall does identify himself as former Labour Leader of Harlow Council. This is a sad situation for all parents - RAAC issues are making more problems too. I can't help wondering why it takes to the start of term to discover these problems when we've had weeks of Summer Holiday! Mark Gough - Reform UK

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