SIR, — Having seen the somewhat inadequate reporting in your newspaper about Francis Bacon School, I felt compelled to write. I was infuriated that the school featured on the front page of the Herts Advertiser a few months ago in such a negative way, more
SIR, - Having seen the somewhat inadequate reporting in your newspaper about Francis Bacon School, I felt compelled to write.
I was infuriated that the school featured on the front page of the Herts Advertiser a few months ago in such a negative way, more so since my daughter was due to start Year 7 in September. It was irresponsible reporting which didn't fill many with the confidence that a prospective parent should have when their child starts a new school. So seeing the feature (Herts Advertiser, September 25) mollified me slightly although I think it would have been preferable to give it the same prominence that you felt the initial report deserved.
While the school wasn't the chosen one for our daughter - indeed we were one of those who didn't get any of our three choices - I have to confess I had my doubts. Francis Bacon wasn't a school we had considered for her both due to distance and reputation - something not enhanced by your reporting.
However since my child started in September, I have realised how misguided I was listening to general rumour rather than being as open-minded as I like to think I am. My daughter has settled beautifully into a school where the staff are obviously dedicated and enthusiastic. Good discipline and adhering to standards are paramount while all the staff from the head teacher Ms Verrall to the pastoral team are extremely approachable both for parents and pupils.
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Married to a teacher myself, I know, despite popular belief, how hard teachers work and how devastating it is when you give it your all only to be criticised by those who think they know better. The last thing Ms Verrall and her dedicated staff need is extra pressure from the press. Instead offer them the encouragement they need. They offer a vital service to our children and from what I have seen of the school so far, I do not believe that the Ofsted report is a true reflection of the school or the teachers' abilities. I am totally happy with my daughter being at Francis Bacon and I am convinced that she will do well.
I am proud to say which school my daughter attends and your reporter was right with her opening sentence: Jacqui Verrall is obviously "a woman on a mission" and as a parent, I have every confidence that she will achieve it.
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Sheppards Close, St Albans.
n Editor's note: In this case the messenger is being blamed for the message. Our July story was based on an Ofsted report on the school and entirely factual. Of the 525-word story, nearly 300 words gave the head teacher's side. It is not irresponsible reporting to publish an official document even if some people do not agree with the contents. It would be irresponsible to suppress such reports. In the same July issue in the editor's comment where we can be subjective rather than objective, we were very supportive of Francis Bacon.