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The school for swearing needs new management - and new competition

11-year-olds at a Barnsley Council comprehensive called the Shafton Advanced Learning Centre have been given worksheets asking them to grade swear words.

The school opened last year as a result of the merging of two other secondary schools - Priory School and Sports College, and Willowgarth High School. Both these schools were on a list of schools with the worst GCSE results in the country. So there should have been an opportunity for a fresh start - with a new head and a sponsored academy. Yet Bernadette O'Brien, who was the headteacher of the Priory, was made the head of the new school and it is a maintained school under Barnsley Council's empire.

We can't blame Michael Gove for this. The plans were in place before the General Election. But I hope that we will see the "Shafton Advanced Learning Centre" with a new name and new management as soon as possible.

I also hope that a proposal which has been put forward for a Christian free school progresses. It comes from the Barnsley Hope House School. At present it is an independent school - with fees which vary by age but around £300 a month. This means that the spending per pupil is just over half what is spent by the taxpayer on Barnsley Council's schools - around £6,000 a year. At the Priory it is in the order of £7,000. But the percentage of pupils getting five good GCSEs at the Priory has been in the order of 35% - at Barnsley Hope High School it is 100%.


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