School Governor of new Catholic Free School says "Gays would be welcome..but we would not encourage it.

They say "when in a hole stop digging" but the new St Michael’s Catholic Free School in Truro, Cornwall seem to be digging away in their latest move to defend themselves from an attack that they are homophobic and will not teach “gay nonsense”.

This is Cornwall report that local resident Wallace Simmonds called a meeting with School Governor Joyce Sanderson and local Catholic priest Father Chris Findlay. Wallace suggesting the criticism is an "orchestrated attack to undermine the school” is quoted as saying:
"The whole population is taught that homosexuality is fine and children should accept they can have two mums or dads but they should not be taught that nonsense. It is not right,"
"Schools are not teaching basic family values and that mum and dad are the heads of the family and that's how it should be. "
There are so many problems in schools today where basic family values are not taught and it is OK for Jack to marry Jack and not Jill. "
The morals of this country should not be dragged down."
School Governor Joyce Sanderson apparently in an attempt to make it clear the school would be open to gay people said:
Gays would be welcome to this school but we would not encourage it.
"We want to know they (children) are happy to follow our teaching and that's crucial. We do not wish to make children unhappy and refer to their home circumstances. "
I think those people who declare their views are entitled to express them as much as I am entitled to do so. "
The school follows the teaching of Catholic values and treatment (of children) is charitable.
"We lay down what you should try to follow but how people follow it is their business."
Yes these were attempts to make the situation better. Maybe the school should follow the lead of many other free schools and hire a PR consultant...

Looking into the school more carefully is interesting. Although a new free school this is in fact an independent school (previously called St Michael’s Catholic Small School) that is converting to a free school.  Going back to its latest Ofsted inspection in January 2011 - bearing in mind this is the light touch inspection regime for independent schools - the report finds:
The school’s arrangements to ensure the welfare, health and safety of pupils are inadequate. This is because the school’s safeguarding arrangements lack rigour. Checks on the suitability of staff prior to their appointment are incomplete and the school’s central record has a number of omissions.
If this wasn’t bad enough - and in a state school this would mean Special Measures - there are also problems with the curriculum:
The school does not meet all requirements in respect of the quality of education provided (standards in part 1) and must: provide pupils with a sufficient range of experiences in technology (paragraph 2(2)(a)).
The school is also slated for failing to to have Disability Discrimination Policies in place which adds to the concerns about the approach to equalities.

A monitoring visit later in 2011 saw these failings largely corrected but the schools current website prefers people to look at the 2008 Ofsted report...

2008ofstedAs for school Governor Joyce Sanderson I think many will wonder how appropriate it is to hold a governorship of a state funded school whilst holding these kind of opinions about gay people.
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