“YOUR figures don’t stack up.”
That’s the message to Shelley College headteacher John McNally from the campaigners fighting to block his expansion plan.
It is feared the proposal to allow Year 7 and 8 pupils to join the school from 2014, first revealed in September, would threaten the future of middle schools in the Shelley Pyramid school system.
Yesterday, Mr McNally hit out at those against the idea and said the motive for the plan was “about standards.”
He claimed results at Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) in the Shelley Pyramid – a group of 20 local schools – were 6% below the national average.
But members of Keep Shelley Pyramid For Our Children have slammed the statistic as “irrelevant”.
Spokesman Simon Pocock said by the time children arrived at Shelley College aged 13 they were above the national average, proving the middle school system was providing a great service.
He said: “Results at Key Stage 2 will vary from year to year – that’s completely irrelevant.
“By the time kids leave middle school and join his school they’re on record, according to Ofsted, as above average attainment.
“The middle schools have turned them around.”
Mr Pocock said parents were worried they would be forced to choose Shelley College at Year 7 or face missing out on a place in Year 9.
He said: “If this goes ahead there’s no guarantee parents will have a place for their child if they elect to send them to middle school.
“Mr McNally can go out of area to fill the places so parents will think I’d better send them to Shelley College even though I don’t want to because I need to ensure their place.
“He will claim it’s up to parents where they send their kids but he won’t hold their places until Year 9 – it’s not economically viable for him.
“He’s bullying an entire community into having to send their children there in Years 7 and 8.
“The purpose of the academy system was supposed to be to offer more choice, but he’s taking away choice as the middle schools will be forced to close.
“He’s ignoring the fantastic job middle schools are doing for our children.
“He’s focussing on Key Stage 2 but isn’t that more about what first schools are doing?
“We’re not criticising first schools but if this goes ahead then it means we’ll have to cram more pupils into first schools he says aren’t working.
“If he goes through with it he’s actually going to have a harder job.”
The consultation starts on Monday with the publication of the college’s 20-page document and Mr Pocock urged all parents and people in the community who didn’t want a three-tier system to make their voices heard.
He added: “Mr McNally thinks he has some support for this, but we would hope during the consultation he will get the full measure of what’s important to this community.
“We will view the proposal and respond next week but, if needs be, we will take all steps possible to stop this happening.
“If Mr McNally respects the wishes of this community he won’t go through with it.”