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Happy, Healthy, Successful

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John Kyrle High School Headteacher repeatedly says his mantra for the school is "Happy, Healthy and Successful", but let's take a closer look

Happy?

So many Ross-on-Wye parents are completely UN-happy with how they say they have experienced JKHS failing to help to address issues when it comes to the mental health and anxiety levels of their children.

Bullying is another issue where parents are deeply concerned and unhappy over how the school has dealt with it in their experience.

Other parents are unhappy with what they perceive as a push from JKHS to get them to home school their children, move them to another school, or refer them to PRUs.

How do we know this? Because they are coming forward continually with their experiences.

Healthy?

So many Ross-on-Wye parents say that under the current leadership, JKHS is failing pupils when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.

Many are reporting the extreme distress their pupils are going through, pointing out the school's approach that so many of them have said is a cause of it. Parents are coming forward saying the pressure put on their children at the school to perform exams is causing them to be unnecessarily stressed, and reports of panic attacks and self-harming are worrying, and are certainly not healthy.

What is great is that 100s of people want to help the school improve, and yet even though over 300 signed a petition asking for a public meeting so they can do this, the school has flatly refused.

JKHS have tried to look busy in these areas in press releases to local papers. Firstly it has not gone unnoticed that these press releases have pretty much ALL been released AFTER the school has been asked by over 300 concerned people for a meeting about mental health, and there is very little substance to the PR. For example, their announcement of parents and staff coming together to form a "Wellbeing Positive Mental Health Steering Group" turned out not only to have no independent parents on it, but an application to be on it was turned down and ignored. Not only that, the school's headteacher wrote that the purpose of group had been misunderstood and all it was is a group put together at the request of pupils to oversee some kind of poster competition ("picture based mental health charter").

Successful?

Is John Kyrle High School successful in its duty to engage with parents and the community? Which is a duty of both the Headteacher (Nigel Griffiths) and the Chair of Trustees (Denise Strutt).

No.

In fact not only has the school flatly refused a meeting, in the clear knowledge that over 300 people are requesting it, but Nigel Griffiths has openly acknowledged that he has engaged with none of these people. Confused? He was trying to illustrate there is no problem as people have not approached him individually according to him, and yet it is undeniable that 100s of people want to talk with him to help the school improve around mental health as they believe it needs to.

Compare this with the over 500 hours of time put in by this Network, meeting, listening, documenting and consulting parents, pupils, teachers, counsellors, councillors, mental health agencies, services and charities - all specifically around the topic of mental health at JKHS. Also compare it to the willingness to meet and talk of every single person and body who's been approached apart from the school. The school has done zero about meeting.

So, not only is the school unsuccessful at its duty to engage with concerned parents and the community, it is unsuccessful in creating a caring and supportive management structure and approach according to many pupils and their parents who say their ongoing mental health problems started at John Kyrle and the school let them down.

So, John Kyrle High School ...Happy, Healthy, Successful?

It is an entirely subjective sentence. Nigel Griffiths likes to imply it holds weight and gravitas on its own. It doesn't.

It is also worth noting Nigel Griffiths likes to quote a short Ofsted Report of the school that said "you are happy in your aims to be Happy, Healthy, Successful". But, this seemed strange to many people to be written in a letter like that. It turns out the letter was written by Alun Williams, an Ofsted Inspector who is also an acquaintance and work colleague of Nigel Griffiths (who also is an Ofsted Inspector), and the two of them have undertaken multiple inspections of other schools together.

We are not sure at this time if this is a conflict of interests, but it is certainly interesting when Nigel Griffiths is so keen to repeatedly recount this. Whether he had anything to do with requesting Alun Williams wrote these words we don't know. What we do know is it certainly doesn't look likely it was done independently when looking into other school's Ofsted reports and not being able to find references to their school tag lines or mantras in their equivalent letters. Perhaps it is has genuinely been written without prompting though.

It doesn't appear that Ofsted have picked up on concerns about the school, even though it seems to take only minutes in town to find someone with something of concern to say. It is not surprising in itself, as nobody of the 100s concerned who have been in touch have ever mentioned being asked anything about JKHS by Ofsted.

What we can be sure of, is scores of parents and pupils are continually coming forward expressing how they were NOT Happy and NOT Healthy at John Kyrle, and how the school was unsuccessful in attending to issues they had, or they claim the school exacerbated or caused the problems.

TWO THINGS MUST BE SAID AT THIS POINT... (1) The negative experiences of so many do NOT paint conclusive proof of anything at the school, simply that 100s of people share deep concerns and are recounting similar experiences. (2) Thank you to all those subject teachers that DO support their pupils and do a fantastic job, you set an example to the Senior Staff and Management Team of the school, who are brought up time and time again when people recount negative experiences. Thank you to you, on behalf of all those who've said great things about you.