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Is St Philips sleepwalking towards being taken over by an Academy Chain?

If you want to object email consultation@stphilips.cambs.sch.uk 

Daniel Zeichner MP slams forced academisation of Cambridge Primary School during Westminster debate

 
Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge has challenged the Secretary of State for Education in the House of Commons over her lack of regard for parental choice after making reference to the academisation of Cambridge primary school St Philip's.
 
Mr Zeichner said:Extraordinarily, although a consultation is going on, the parents already have been told that the outcome is a forgone conclusion.“ And then posed the question: “Why is the Secretary of State so opposed to parental choice?“
 
Parents of St Philip's have been asked to provide feedback on proposals that would see the Church of England school become an academy and join the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust (DEMAT). The schools Interim Executive Board (IEB) has stated that they believe academisation will best serve the long term interests of the school after it received a warning notice from the Local Educational Authority last Autumn.  
 
 
There have been a number of questions raised over the transparency of the process after it was confirmed by the IEB that they incorrectly informed parents that academisation could not be stopped. Since the consultation process started a number of parents have voiced opposition to academisation with a group even coordinating a petition that Mr Zeichner understands has already received 70 signatures.
 
Daniel Zeichner said: “My primary concern is that the parents and the local community are involved in the future of St Philip's.“
 
“It is not proven that academisation is always in the best interest of schools and improvements at St Philip's over the last year show that this school was capable of making the necessary improvements and returning to the high standards previously recognised by OFSTED. Forced academisation is the ideological fixation of a Government that is failing to resource schools properly - I hope the Regional Schools Commissioner will take note of the views of parents and staff and show that this is a genuine consultation, not a done deal."

 

 

 

2-11-17

At the meeting on the 1st of November there was a considerable discussion about the academisation of St Phillips.  The NUT provided a spokesperson who gave their view on what was happening.  A number of other parties related to this declined to attend.  People who wish to submit a response to the consultation should email direct to consultation@stphilips.cambs.sch.uk 

 

1st November - there will be a meeting to discuss the potential academisation of St Phillips at Notts Own Scout Centre, Cyprus Road, Cambridge at 1930

The question i want to ask is, "if the Ely Diocese is proposing to bring St Phillips into its academy then why cant they help St Phillips as it currently stands?".

Try to keep some time free to attend the evening of the 1st as no final decision has been made about if St Phillips should become an academy.

 

11th October 2017 update

At a meeting held last night at St Phillips School it became clear that the letter sent to parents that the acadamisation of St Phillips was a done deal was incorrect.  There is still time to argue for St Phillips to remain within Local Government control. 

We also managed to obtain an agreement that the consultation will be extended by at least 28 days.  As a consequence there is still time to join in the consultation.  

We are also attempting to get the education authority to hold a public meeting - watch this space. 

 

Is St Philips sleepwalking towards being taken over by an Academy Chain?

Is it in the best interests of the school and our children?

 

Dear residents/parents,

As parents of children at St Philip’s, we are worried that our school is about to be turned into an Academy and that this is being done with no genuine consultation.  There was a brief meeting just before the summer for parents to discuss this with the IEB (Interim Executive Board) and representatives of DEMAT (the proposed Academy Trust).  At that meeting some parents asked if there was anything we could do to halt this process.  We were told clearly, “No”.  We also asked if there had ever been a point in the past at which we could have halted this process.  Again, we were told, “No”.  Parents apparently had no choice in the matter at all.

We’re no experts, but the research we have done since that meeting suggests that there certainly was a time when we could have had a meaningful say in this, and that in fact we can still do so now.

Both staff and parents have been led to believe that the issuing of a “Warning Notice” to the school, followed by the appointment of an IEB, meant that Academisation was inevitable and unavoidable. It is for this reason that the IEB (which does not include any representatives from the parent community) made an application for this to happen. 

However, the guidance from the Department of Education is clear that while the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) may make an academy order (i.e. force a school to become an academy) when a school has been issued with a warning notice, it does not have to do so, and different methods of intervention can be chosen. The same is also true if an IEB has been put in place – this does not give the RSC the power to make an academy order.  If a school fails to comply with a warning notice, the RSC does then have the power to make an academy order but even then they can still opt for a different method of intervention if they wish.  While we know a warning notice was served, it is not clear St Philips failed to comply with it.  We would hope that parents would have been informed if that was the case.  Either way, it seems that the IEB was not compelled to take us down the academisation route and parents should be given an opportunity to have a genuine discussion about whether or not academisation is the road we wish to go down.

If you share our concerns, or just want to hear more about what is going on, please come along to the meeting at the school next Tuesday (10th October) and make sure parent’s voices are heard.

Please see over for some reasons that academisation is not always the best choice for a school in our position to make.

Richard Rippin – richard.rippin@gmail.com – 07886 757987

Alison Hoare

SOME FACTS ABOUT ACADEMIES

 

Academies bring risk with no evidence of benefits

  • Academisation does not improve schools: Local Authorities have a better record in school improvement. 
  • Academisation is politically risky: a new government could change the system.
  • MATs (multi academy trusts) are vulnerable to take overs by other academy chains. They can be gifted to other MATs with no consultation. Academy schools can also become ‘orphan schools’ with no sponsor/MAT willing to support it. There are over 60 schools already in this predicament.
  • Many MATs have a board of trustees that is not connected to its member schools and have no elected staff or parent representatives.
  • Academisation is forever: there is no way back to local democratic control.

 

Conditions for our teachers

  • Academies are free to set the pay and conditions of staff.
  • Academisation has seen the emergence of greater inequality in education. For example, there is a growing disparity between the salaries of headteachers and the CEOs of some MATS; there are over 100 CEOs earning more than £175,000, while the average headteacher pay in secondary school is £80,000 to £120,000, and less for primary schools.
  • Academisation is opposed by all the teacher trade unions.

 

Competition between schools

  • Academisation is based on a belief that creating a ‘free market of competing schools’ is a better way to provide education. All the evidence from education systems around the world suggests collaboration is more effective. 
  • Academies are businesses: education is not a business.

 

What is needed for an excellent education?

The best way to create a good school, and an inspiring environment for children, is to have excellent teachers, who are secure in their jobs and have a supportive leadership. We now have all of these elements at St Philip’s!

The school does not need to become an Academy!

 

 

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