Correspondence: Telephone consultation for parents

Dear Mike Nicholls, HPS Chair of Governors and Governing Body,
Hands Off Hove Park is very interested to hear about a new development in the consultation process. As far as we know, this was mentioned for the first time in the consultation meeting for Year 11/ Sixth Form last night and involves the Deputy Head Mr Knox-Macaulay telephoning some of the parents who have not come to the consultation evenings to tell them about the academy proposal.
As a group we welcome rounded efforts to engage more parents. We have already indicated ways in which we believe the current process is obstructing full engagement (see email 17th May).
However, we now add to that our concern that parents being contacted in such a way by a member of the Senior Leadership Team will hear a very unbalanced view on academy conversion. This is already the case with the presentations at consultation evenings, where there is at least an opportunity to hear a few views from other parents during the short Q&A.
We would like some clarification around the manner in which this telephone consultation is taking place. It sounded like a cold calling process, which could put parents on the spot, not giving them time to consider the wider issues.
We would also like to know when these calls are taking place and whether any effort being made to capture those who are unable to take calls during working hours.
We would also like to know how the feedback from these parents is being recorded and passed to the Governors. In similar one-to-one consultations with staff and small group consultations with students, we understand that no notes have been taken or recordings made.
We question whether this is the best use of a senior staff member’s time during a busy exam period. Further, given that Mr Macaulay is leaving the school imminently, and given the pressures on his time that would make it impossible to call the 1,000+ parents that have not attended consultations, it appears to us that these telephone consultations are mainly a cosmetic exercise and we urge a broader effort to engage all parents.
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