Letter to Editor: SFG College: “We, as parents…are desperate to get the children settled”

Your Say / Mon 23rd Oct 2023 at 01:07pm

Dear Editor,

WE, as parents, and the staff at SFG are utterly desperate to get these children settled. They started their secondary school life in portacabins whilst the building was being completed – but for much longer than was anticipated, without the freedoms and benefits of being settled in their own building would have brought. 

We then had Covid and the huge wave of disruption that brought. The children had just one year in a “proper” building, only for it to be closed down.

The tents were a very temporary immediate solution for the hundreds of children who had nowhere to go. The temporary portacabins are much less than ideal but were acceptable for a short term basis.

These have now been delayed, and we are left with children with no school base, and nothing other than tents to see them through storms and snow, or “home schooling” which we all know does not work.

Both parents and SFG staff are already having to manage the very high cost on our children’s mental health as a result of Covid. To let them down again when they need support the most (particularly our year 11’s) is unforgivable. 

May I say to our MP Robert Halfon, your government and Department for Education has let down every single pupil, parent and staff member, and you need to take action NOW.

You are the first to arrive for a photo opportunity for good news, and yet silent when people need answers. We will not go quietly on this issue – you need to take action now and do the thing you were elected to do and to represent the people of Harlow. 

The Teachers and Staff at Sir Frederick Gibberd College and Sixth Form have been taking no end of criticism and backlash for something that is totally out of their control. 

Get the Department for Education down to the site and let them answer to the Parents. Someone made a lot of money on the back of this shoddy work, and it’s our kid’s education and mental health that has paid the price. 

We need as many parents as possible to support the school and their pupils. Please us #helpsfg on your posts.


Catherine Searle

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5 Comments for Letter to Editor: SFG College: “We, as parents…are desperate to get the children settled”:

2023-10-23 16:39:22

Catherine is absolutely right. The staff of SFG are not at all to blame for the chaos caused by the Department for Education where Robert Halfon is a Minister.

Concerned Parent
2023-10-24 09:07:55

I agree whole heartedly with Catherine. None of this is the making of the Head Teacher nor staff, not to mention their wellbeing as well. However, the issue is where would a suitable building be, that could accommodate such large numbers whilst maintaining safety. All schools have high perimeter fences now, locked gates and so on, so moving into any vacant building would likely cause even more safeguarding issues. It Is a logistical nightmare of epic proportions, how to accommodate 100's and 100's of pupils in a safe comfortable environment. I suspect even the remaining senior schools in the Town, outside of BMAT, would probably not be able to cope should everyone decide to re-locate, due to the sheer numbers involved. There has been no mention of remedial works to the school in it's current state, so how unsafe is unsafe? Add RAAC into the equation and that adds even more complexity to the dire state of schools in the Harlow area.

Catherine Searle
2023-10-24 12:07:00

Concerned Parent - whilst I certainly agree to some extend regarding the mammoth task ahead to relocate so many pupils, the ones that are in dire need for support are our Year 11’s. They’ve had nothing but disruption since the start in Year 7 through no fault of the School. It is perfect reasonable and viable for 4-5 classes of 15&16 year olds to be able to attend classes somewhere like the playhouse, or a hired cinema screen even if it were on a part time basis. Or to hire a suite of offices for them to have somewhere quite, safe and practical to study and take their mock exams. The entire process has been a shambles and rests with the DfE.

Concerned Parent
2023-10-25 06:34:02

Catherine, you have isolated just one year, rightly as the one that probably affects your circumstances. Year 10's have had it just as hard as year 11. Covid, home learning, Porta Cabins at Burnt Mill. All this affects the whole school but particularly those 2 years I agree, not to mention well-being. As a year 10 parent, It is these 2 years that need the most help, as I have previously pointed out in some of the other stories reported by YH. I feel for year 7, but better use of the facilities at MH would suit the latter years as they are due or heading towards exam year so need all the face-to-face support in the lead-up to these. It is these 2 years that shape the futures of these students. I have already pointed out that I hope BMAT in conjunction with DFE can take all the disruption of these 2 years into consideration come Exam time. Don't bother asking Halfon, he will be too busy making a Christmas card......

Devinder Kainth
2023-10-31 00:46:17

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