Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Guest Article #1: An Open Letter to Year 11s

Over the past few months we have received a few articles from avid readers, some current students, some ex-students. As they stand up just as much, if not more, than any Trash article, we have devoted this Editorial to one of those thoughts, feelings and opinions. We will be posting more in time, but this one seems relevant, what with Sixth Form Open Evening tomorrow. This article was sent to us during the white heat of Trashgate, by a student who chose another Sixth-Form over Hampstead's.

An Open Letter to Year 11s

To the year 11's of East Cricklewood Community Comprehensive, I have a single piece of advice;
Get out.
Go on, bugger off. No-one's gonna miss your scrawny faces or your sub-par donuts.

I've now been a ex-student of Hampstead school for only a few months, and I can honestly say I have been shocked by things should not be shocking at my new college. Being treated as a young adult, trusted to know what is 'appropriate' clothing, not being surrounded by ridiculously patronising motivational posters. But this whole media shebang actually forced me to realise something genuinely depressing; that I was one of the last to have experienced a Hampstead that was actually quite good.

I know how a lot of people will respond to this, they will say that the school "has improved for the past four years" or has the "best GCSEs ever". The school is playing the game so they can climb the ridiculous league tables. My year, for example, was made to complete a GCSE equivalent, which literally copied and pasted answers in order to gain a qualification. Copy and paste. We were used as guinea pigs for a huge number of techniques, entered for exams which were neither necessary nor beneficial, and now students in year nine are being forced to take their exams two years earlier than they have been told for their entire lives.

As has been said before in the Trash, the school was better back in the good old days. Before the genuinely interested and enthusiastic teachers were forced out, the school had incredible extra-curricular activities, schools plays, music performances and generally fantastic events. It was (however cheesy this is) a place where people found what they loved to do, and could practice it. I'd say that the school had its last good year in 2010, and it’s been downhill since then.

But it is not the fault of the teachers at all, and never has been. It has always been the issue of the narcissistic SLT, convinced that throwing a blazer on a mannequin and giving 92% of students achievement badges would make the school a good place to learn.

And so began the dreary petty rules, the patronising system of pretending-to-care, and the ridiculous motivating posters, surrounded by a gaping mouth group of perplexed students desperately searching for the meaning to the strange group of markings on paper: "a school that reads".

One plus we can attribute to the school is the elimination of the 'ol smoking pit, which has now been transformed into a top notch natural reserve with the simple addition of a knocked over bird table. Genius.
And course, we cannot ignore the recent events which involved the Trash which I am perplexed by. In his own words, the Head said that he would've been willing to expel a student half way through his A-levels, and felt the need to contact a prospective university based on an opinion held by a student. This being worsened by the fact that he later bragged on live radio about the school debate society which: a) was partially co-ordinated by Kinnan himself; and b) was told BY THE SLT that there was no room to use for practice by the team. The head "takes things personally" again, his words spoken to my year group during a number of assemblies. The responses to the blog feel petty and in order to maintain its appearance, the school genuinely sent home a student from a 9 a.m. exam in order to retrieve their blazer, and refused to educate a student with upcoming exams because of dyed hair. I tip my hat to the teachers who figured it out early enough to leave. Bravo good sirs. Bravo.

And so my years of Patball and Pigeon Burger 2 for £2s come to end, I really can only tell you lot one thing; Sixth-form is a chance to try another school which is very much likely to be better. Go to open days, look around and apply to every other place you can. You're likely to have a wee panic right before you leave and sit in a foetal position rocking slowly back and forth repeating the motivational slogans, but that’s normal. To those still there for the long run and to all the great teachers, farewell, good luck, and stick it out.

"This is not a good school"
Yousef Acker

DISCLAIMER: This Hampstead Trash article has been written to critique the actions of the governing bodies of the school. This is so student readers can hear both sides of the argument, and formulate their own opinions on matters pertaining to their education.

1 comment:

  1. Open letter to this dude:

    Regardless of how shit the school is, its weak to run off and do nothing about it other than complain of how shit it is. Life is shite where ever you go and its up to the individual to help or accelerate the change of things. Do not expect things to get better of their own accord, mummy and daddy can’t fix everything for you. They certainly didn’t for me and I realised the hard way. I applied to go to other colleges but in the end I thought it’s not what school makes of me, its what I make of school, so I didn’t go to any interviews.

    Its not a good thing that good teachers are leaving, its upsetting. The fact that they find SLT a disruption on their teaching effectiveness is disheartening and disgusting. In fact I would say, I tip my hat to all of the teachers, especially to the ones who have the determination to let nothing get in the way of their profession.

    So go ahead and enjoy your new college, but make sure that you make the most out of it. I might not be happy with my current placement, I can always run but I will never hide. Corruption and hypocrisy is everywhere, not just at the top of Hampstead school management.

    With deference and dolefulness,

    SLUDGE xox

    p.s. I never co-ran debate, I wish I had the honor. That responsibility lay with the current leader of the society.