When parents were told that St Philips was to be made an academy and that there was nothing that could be done to stop this, local parents held a meeting to challenge that outcome. The meeting was well attended and parents were joined by local councillor Dave Baigent and a representative from Daniel Zeichner's office, members of the IEB and some members from the Ely diocese academy trust. As an outcome the consultation was extended so that all the parents and interested parties could have an opportunity to make comments.
A number of meetings were then held, parents were asked to sign a petition at the school gates, and County Councillors Whitehead and Kavanagh and the representative for Daniel Zeichner were allowed to speak at the decision making meeting.
We have just heard that the decision was to leave St Philips as a LOCAL AUTHORITY SCHOOL.
This is victory for democracy in that people stood up to be counted and made their arguments, and the IEB have recommended that the school should remain with the Local Authority as a maintained school at this time.
Letter received about St Philips
Dear Parents, Carers, Staff and Friends of St Philip’s,
I am writing to inform you of the decision taken by the IEB at a meeting yesterday about whether St Philip’s CofE VA School should become an academy. The decision was that the IEB recommend that the school should remain with the Local Authority as a maintained school at this time.
In coming to this decision the IEB considered all the information and contributions we have received and was based on what, in our judgement, would be in the best interests of the school in order to ensure continued school improvement at this time.
The IEB wish to make it clear that this decision is as much about timing as anything else and is not intended as a reflection on DEMAT who, all agreed, have shown themselves to be a supportive MAT with genuine care for their schools and communities.
The main reasons that the IEB has come to the decision it has are listed below.
The school has had a two year period of instability and the first priority of the IEB is to give the school a period of stability in order to support continuous school improvement.
The Headteacher is newly in post and needs time to continue apace the school improvement work already being undertaken to good effect. The IEB noted that in the consultation all comments on improvement currently being driven by the Headteacher were positive. The IEB feels the process of converting to an academy could potentially deflect the Headteacher’s attention from this task and so slow the school’s improvement journey.
The IEB was very mindful of the strongly held opinions of different complexions of the parents and local community who are very satisfied with how the school is progressing under the Headteacher and Local Authority.
The IEB recognises that there is high quality support in place by the Local Authority and future plans show this will remain in place for at least the short to medium term future.
The IEB heard compelling evidence of effective current partnerships between CSoC (Church Schools of Cambridge), the Local Authority, DEMAT/Diocese and the school, to support the school. Headteacher: Sally Allan MEd (Cantab) St Philip’s C.E. (A) Community Primary School, 2 Vinery Way, Cambridge CB1 3DR Tel: 01223 508707 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stphilips.cambs.sch.uk Achieving Together Headteacher: Sally Allan MEd (Cantab) St Philip’s C.E. (A) Community Primary School, 2 Vinery Way, Cambridge CB1 3DR Tel: 01223 508707 Email: email@example.com www.stphilips.cambs.sch.uk Achieving Together Headteacher: Sally Allan MEd (Cantab) St Philip’s C.E. (A) Community Primary School, 2 Vinery Way, Cambridge CB1 3DR Tel: 01223 508707 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stphilips.cambs.sch.uk Achieving Together Headteacher: Sally Allan MEd (Cantab) St Philip’s C.E. (A) Community Primary School, 2 Vinery Way, Cambridge CB1 3DR Tel: 01223 508707 Email: email@example.com www.stphilips.cambs.sch.uk Achieving Together Headteacher: Sally Allan MEd (Cantab) St Philip’s C.E. (A) Community Primary School, 2 Vinery Way, Cambridge CB1 3DR Tel: 01223 508707 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stphilips.cambs.sch.uk Achieving Together Headteacher: Sally Allan MEd (Cantab) St Philip’s C.E. (A) Community Primary School, 2 Vinery Way, Cambridge CB1 3DR Tel: 01223 508707 Email: email@example.com www.stphilips.cambs.sch.uk Achieving Together
At the current time, the IEB could not find any compelling evidence that converting to an academy would bring any additional benefits to the school or outweigh the benefits of staying with the Local Authority.
The IEB has no reservations about DEMAT as a MAT (Multi Academy Trust) and recommend that if the school returns to maintained governance arrangements that the future governing body reconsiders this decision as the position may change when the school has had a period of stability and consolidated the improvements that have just begun.
The IEB would like to make it clear that they, and others, think highly of DEMAT and a large part of the decision made was due to the timing in relation to the school’s improvement journey.
In conclusion, the IEB made this decision for these reasons as they believe it is in the best interests of the children and their education at the current time.
We thank you all for continued interest in and support for the school.
Chair of the IEB
If you want to object email firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Zeichner MP slams forced academisation of Cambridge Primary School during Westminster debate
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 email@example.com
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?
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org – 07886 757987
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!