Nigel Griffiths letter to MP Jesse Norman

The JKHS Parent Network is in no way officially affiliated with or run by JKHS.
It is and always will be completely independent

Jesse Norman wrote to Nigel Griffiths, the JKHS Headteacher, asking him to comment on why he has not engaged when over 300 concerned people have asked for a public meeting with senior staff about mental health

Jesse Norman was presented with dozens and dozens of bad experiences of how people say they and their children have had JKHS affect their mental health, and expressing how they have been let down by the school in relation to mental health.

As a result, Jesse Norman kindly wrote to Nigel Griffiths as the evidence of issues at the school had been presented to him, he was asking Nigel Griffiths to comment and explain why he has not in the slightest bit engaged with the community on this issue when they have asked him to. It was also pointed out that on February 14th 2018, Nigel Griffiths asked the community for feedback.

To date, Nigel has not listened to these people who are waiting to talk to him...

People are shocked to read Nigel Griffiths' reply

Firstly, Nigel's comments on the meeting itself

We are, of course, always available to meet with parents/carers to discuss issues relating to their children. It is not appropriate to meet in a group, however, as information may be sensitive.

What is being asked for is a meeting about JKHS itself, not about pupils. A meeting to discuss what the school does that works, what it does that doesn't work, and what it could do much much better around mental health, all for the benefit of students who suffer.

Nobody has asked to meet about specific cases, and hence there is no sensitive information to be discussed. Over 300 people have asked for a meeting, to help the school. People with real world experience of mental health are waiting to help JKHS.

Secondly, claims of no concerns at all ever being raised with any member of staff about pastoral care at the school

You will be interested to hear that not a single parent/carer of a current or former pupil has contacted me or any of my staff directly with concerns about our pastoral care.

Some people have jolted back in their chair upon reading this!

If you have EVER approached ANY member of staff with concerns over how they are dealing with any aspect of your child's experience at the school (aside from academic progress) then please contact us so that we can collate many instances of this.

Nigel Griffiths says no member of staff has been contacted with concerns over care at the school but many people are already saying this is not true as they have spoken to staff about issues.

Thirdly, (and for some extremely shocking), Nigel Griffiths clearly displays ill-founded logic appearing to claim to an investigating MP that mental health is not actually an issue at JKHS

The DfE performance tables were released this week. We are one of only three Herefordshire high schools to score above-average progress. In relation to issues around mental health and wellbeing, our students at GCSE and A level would not have performed so well had their been issues. Our drive for high standards, welcomed by the community, is matched fully with considerable care for the wellbeing of students and staff. Overly stressed students fail examinations, not succeed in them as ours do.

Shocking? ...it appears Nigel Griffiths is saying JKHS don't have mental health issues or the academic performance tables would not be what they are, so he intimates that this is proof of no issues.

So many pupils who suffer so terribly with extreme anxiety and poor mental health will achieve academically DESPITE the incredibly harrowing experiences they go through.

Nigel clearly is saying "overly stressed students fail examinations". This is an ignorant and unfounded comment to make as plenty of overly stressed students do NOT fail examinations.

Do Nigel's comments show even a basic understanding of how mental health issues affect young people?

People have been giving feedback that they are alarmed that these kind of comments are coming from a headteacher with around 1500 pupils in his care, and a minimum of 150 of those will have mental health issues which are heartbreaking to experience.

An extremely worrying amount of people are coming forward with negative experiences around mental health at JKHS.

Finally, almost half the letter is completely off-topic, it has been pointed out by many as being inappropriately over-familiar with Jesse Norman when the very serious topic at hand is about Mental Health at JKHS, with 100s and 100s of Ross-on-Wye people deeply concerned

You will have seen the local authority's letter to us praising how we improve the life chances for young people. Aside from outcomes, other key indicators of school success, including student and staff attendance, parental preference for places and feedback from Ofsted and the local community are strong. Moreover, you are always very complimentary about our students, even the ones that give you a hard time in your discussions!

Please find enclosed a copy of a recent Ross Gazette article on our work at school to support National Mental Health Week.

I hope you enjoyed the recent edition of Prospect and look forward to welcoming you to school again soon.

Most of this final section as you can see has nothing to do with mental health whatsoever. Nigel Griffiths was written to by Jesse Norman about mental health issues at the school and he is supposed to be replying to that.

Feedback from the community is strong about school success? Is it? Really? Well, what is for certain is that community feedback is strong about extremely concerning mental health issues, it's all waiting to be heard, but no meeting has been accepted as yet. Over 300 people of the community have asked for a meeting.

Yes there was an article about mental health week and lessons, with comments from Mr Croad (one of the JKHS Asst. Headteachers). There was zero in the way of in-depth information in that article. Perhaps the school would like to elaborate on what was taught as some recent feedback from students, who are savvy about mental health, about assemblies on the topic of mental health by Nigel Griffiths have described them as ill-informed and useless.

The covering letter from Jesse Norman MP

The covering letter from Jesse Norman

Read more about Nigel Griffiths, JKHS Head, Ofsted Inspector and Ofsted Ambassador and his refusal to attend a simple meeting with parents about mental health at John Kyrle High School