8:00am Thursday 12th April 2012
Exclusive By Jennifer Meierhans
PARENTS at a Hartlebury school are fighting the backlash of a leaked Ofsted report.
A group of about 15 parents, pupils and supporters of the New Elizabethan School (NES) are rejecting the inspection’s damning findings and want to promote the school in a positive light.
Members say they are determined not to let an anonymous action group, which formed following the leaking of the report, jeopardise the £11,000 a year independent special needs school.
Natasha Fleming drives 50 to 100 miles a day to take her dyslexic son McKenzie, 9, to the school she calls their “lifeline”.
“We are so passionate about the fact that the school could be put into jeopardy, we are writing individually to Ofsted,” she said, “The report does not correlate with our experiences of the school. My son has never had an accident. It does not represent how the school operates.
“We are clearly shocked about the way in which the Ofsted report was leaked. It’s unprofessional.”
She said the group was planning to create a facebook page to turn around the school’s image.
Another parent, Michelle Elliot, said: “It’s put a really bitter taste in our mouth that somebody could have such a dim view of a school that changes children’s lives.”
Her son, Oliver Elliot, 14, who has Asperger syndrome, said: “I just like it because I feel safe there. They’ve got a better understanding of me and how I learn. I feel normal for the first time.”
Cath McDermott, mother to Elise Shortman, 14, who has dyslexia, called NES a “haven for kids who don’t fit into the education system”.
Elise said: “It’s perfect for people like me because they help you and don’t take the mickey out of you. Teachers try and help you find a different way of understanding something if you struggle.”
Claire Desogus, (ok) is the longest standing parent at the school, with son Giorgio, (ok) 16, who has cerebral palsy and daughter Chardonnay (ok), 9, who has dyspraxia and dyslexia. She said NES saved her children from being “drowned by high classroom ratios” of mainstream schools.
Starting this month, Ms Desogus will run a freelance education hub from the school to recruit volunteers to work off site to improve all sectors of the NES and organise fund-raising events.
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