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2nd Open Letter to John Kyrle High School

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The 2nd Open Letter to John Kyrle asking for Nigel Griffiths and his senior staff to attend a simple meeting about Mental Health

The original Open Letter (which you can read here) was written to the school suggesting a public meeting about how the school deals with mental health issues. Over 300 people signed a petition asking for this meeting. As a result of zero engagement with all these worried and concerned people, a second Open Letter was written on 18th Nov 2018.

The 2nd Open Letter follows...

Want to read it as a PDF? Click here for the PDF version.

Dear Nigel Griffiths, (Headteacher of John Kyrle High School, Ross-on-Wye),

You know that 100s of people are waiting for a meeting about issues relating to mental health at JKHS.

Regards mental health issues, you keep saying you want people to come see you personally, and that this offer stands, and yet only 3 days ago you quite openly stated in a letter to all parents that nobody has done this. Through your own admittance there, you illustrate with absolute clarity that you have not been successful at all in engaging with all these people who have concerns about mental health at your school. This reflects that your approach to engaging has completely failed, when the stark reality is that 100s of people want to talk with you and your senior staff, and you are 100% aware of this.

Many parents who have individually spoken to both you and your senior staff in the past are saying that their concerns have been swept under the carpet and dismissed when all they were trying to do was to help or get help.

Lots of people are voicing how they feel shocked, let down, dismayed and disappointed at your lack of engagement since a meeting was requested, utterly dumbfounded and stunned at your PR attempts to claim you've done the opposite. Many affected people are also reading your PR with no faith that you have effectively improved anything on the issues they've had, and 100s and 100s of people don't sign a petition asking for a meeting unless they feel that something is 'wrong'.

Now, you appear to be outright unwilling to attend this simple meeting, stating just two reasons:

Firstly, that you "do not conduct your business in public meetings" ...but of course YOU DO. You have all sorts of open public meetings and events, in fact you're always keen to portray the school as having its doors open.

Secondly, you say that any such group meeting can't take place because of personal "sensitive information", but there is absolutely NO SENSITIVE INFORMATION TO DISCUSS and nobody has requested so.

No Mr Griffiths, all that people would like of you, your senior staff, is a simple meeting to discuss just 3 things:

1/ What the school itself does around mental health that does work.
2/ What the school does that doesn't work.
3/ What it could do.

...quite obviously, this discussion would be no more "sensitive" than discussing the colour of the fire extinguishers in the corridors, or debating your favourite type of cake, now that your objections to a meeting are clearly no longer obstacles...

As someone with significant experience in dealing with mental health issues, I can assure you that you need to be far more flexible and accommodating in how vulnerable people and their parents can approach you. Many will need the comfort of a group, such as those lacking confidence. Some of them may just want to listen. What is certain is that absolutely all of these people are all equally important and their wealth of experience and their opinions matter. This outweighs by far any inconvenience or reluctance you may have.

At the moment, I'm afraid you are in a position of ignorance in that you have not as yet listened to any of these peoples' concerns and suggestions, and this is only as a result of your own defiance to meet. It's so easily fixable. Drop your guard, and actually demonstrate to the community that you are the approachable headteacher you claim to be.

Nigel, finally, anyone could pick apart the few statements you have made since a meeting was asked of you back in August. I could point out all the apparent contradictions, inaccuracies, misdirection and ill-informed logic that I, any many others say they have noticed, but I would rather you have a clean start and fresh opportunity to engage with the all these kind, caring people, to improve things around mental health at JKHS. I really mean that. Please Nigel, let's all work together and as result help the large volume of kids who deserve it so much! (Statistically a bare minimum of 150 students at JKHS will be suffering from poor mental health right now, many see no hope in life and find it awful, let's focus on them please).

So, slate wiped clean, let's have a simple public meeting where all concerned can attend and lots of positive ideas can be discussed. You'll then truthfully be able to say you have begun to listen to the 100s and 100s of worried people that have asked for a meeting and that you have not listened to at all so far. I'll hire the Larruperz as an independent venue, I'll supply coffee and biscuits for everyone, and let's all sit down and talk.

All you have to do is drive 2 minutes down the road and turn up.

Kind regards and RSVP

...Nigel Griffiths did not reply whatsoever, and neither did any other representative of John Kyrle High School

Nigel Griffiths was then subsequently written to on multiple occasions, asking him to lunch to discuss Mental Health at JKHS to try to get communication underway, again, no reply was received to any of those letters.

Trixie Clarke, the SENCO at John Kyrle High School was asked why she has not been in touch about mental health at John Kyrle High School and she abruptly and sternly said she refused to talk about that. Trixie Clarke is described by the school as John Kyrle's mental health lead, but when she has been asked to talk about it she will not.