The Ridings closes

30 Oct 2007

Very sad, but perhaps inevitable, news that The Ridings school in Halifax will close and is likely to be replaced by a City Academy. 

 I have reported on this school since it first hit the news over a decade ago. The way it handled the media exacerbated the problem and ensured blanket coverage of the 'school from hell'. It has struggled ever since to escape this reputation.

 The truth, though, is probably that the school was doomed because of the hierarchical nature of the local school system, with selective grammar schools, and favoured church schools, which have long attracted the great majority of children from middle class homes. 

 While its closure is very sad for the hard-working teachers who have stuck with it over all this time, the demise should not have been allowed to go on for so long.

Although it did appear, for a while, that The Ridings could escape its past, it succumbed again. It has had some good leadership in recent years but even that has not been enough. The hard reality is that schools need a solid core of motivated pupils from motivated homes if they are to have a chance.

 The Ridings is a classic example of our tendency to put schools into hierarchies. 

 Anyone who wants to learn more should look at the film I recently made for Teachers TV about the school. See Behind The Headlines: http://www.teachers.tv/video/22205 

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