A public meeting is being held tonight for parents concerned at radical changes to the subject choices for their children at the Bay Leadership Academy.
Parents of Year 8 pupils at the Heysham secondary school are outraged that several GCSE option choices have suddenly been removed – and their children given less than a fortnight to choose their subjects for next year.
Of the optional subjects, only business studies, engineering, health and social care and performing arts remain – all at BTEC level rather than GCSE.
But popular subjects including art, IT, music, media studies, PE, construction and hair and beauty have all been removed.
Parents have now arranged a meeting to discuss the issue, which is being held from 7.30pm tonight, Thursday May 23, at Heysham Mossgate community sports facilities in Townson Way.
One angry dad said his daughter had her heart set on becoming a PE teacher – yet now cannot study PE at GCSE level.
“They only announced this on Monday, and have given the children just over a week to make their choices. All the other schools chose their options in December.
“My daughter wants to be a PE teacher, so if she stays at the school she will be two or three years behind her peers in studying for it.
“The choice has been ripped away from them. A lot of these choices were giving the children something to aim for in quite a deprived area – this is killing their aspirations.
“Some parents have put their children down to go to this school because of what they offer and now they are stopping all the subjects.”
One mum said her son, who has special educational needs including ADHD and autism, has now told her he no longer wants to go to school.
“We were told two weeks ago that he could do art and IT,” she said. “He struggles academically and he won’t be able to take any of the options they have been told they have to pick from.
“My son went into a complete breakdown because it was such a shock to him.
“I don’t know what on earth will happen, we have all been sold down the river.
“This is their futures we are talking about and yet we feel like they are being used as guinea pigs.
“It’s supposed to be a sports college and yet they won’t even be offering PE at GCSE.
“It’s diabolical. My son has said he wants to drop out because he has no interest in any of those subjects. He’s finding it very hard to deal with.”
Another mum said: “I am absolutely appalled. My son wanted to do sport and IT and he just doesn’t want to do any of the subjects offered.
“This is causing so much upset. It’s such a shock to everybody.
“At the meeting when we were told, even the art teacher was in tears about it. It’s so wrong.
“What school doesn’t do art or IT? Where’s the choice for these kids?”
Another parent added: “These are vocational qualifications that provide them with genuine real world qualifications like BTEC, VCTC and City & Guilds, and also give them life skills and a more real world environment to work in.
“I totally understand the government wanting all pupils to leave high school with three grade ‘C’ and above qualifications is Engish, maths and a science but I think to undermine potential vocational areas in such a diverse school is a backwards step.
“Not all pupils are acedemics and many gain vital vocational qualifications that lead them onto jobs, further education and even starting their own enterprises after leaving high school with vocational skills.
“As a concerned parent, local employer and staunch supporter of the school I think some if not all of these matters need airing in public and the accountability of the trust needs to be ensured.”
Star Academies, who operate the school, have been contacted for comment.
For more information about the meeting, search “Bay Leadership Options Appeal” on Facebook.