The latest cocktail of spin and half-truths from the Nottingham University Academy of Science and Technology (NUAST) heavily suggests chaos just beneath the surface.
Tipped off by a parent in a comment to this site, we didn’t have to dig far to find two extraordinary letters to parents on the NUAST website (extraordinary, that is, in context and taken together).
One dated 7 July (ie last week) was a straightforward letter about an upcoming parents evening, training day, possible changes to uniform, parking on the site – routine stuff. It was signed (with a facsimile signature) by the principal, Harkireet Sohel. In his last paragraph he looked forward to meeting parents at the evening on 13 July. But he never showed up and next day, the students were told he had left. The day after THAT (15 July) the weekly letter from the principal appeared on the website announcing that Mr Sohel had left to concentrate on his OFSTED work and he had been replaced by a Mr Robert White. The letter, apparently from Mr White himself (but with no actual signature) reads, in fact, as though it’s from the directors, ‘bigging up’ Mr White who apparently is Chief Examiner at OCR (though we couldn’t find his name on the OCR website – still, it’s a common sort of name) and an expert on technical academies (though an Internet search with the name and ‘technical academies’ has failed to turn anything up). Anyway, parents are told, NUAST is lucky to have secured his services (by Mr White himself, it seems!) and he’ll be taking over from 1 September (which begs the questions: why has Mr Sohel just disappeared without even a farewell letter – OFSTED can’t be THAT desperate for his services, can they? – and why is Mr White, at least nominally, sending out the letters?)
NUAST held a session for next year’s Year 10 and Year 12 students earlier this week which, according to the website, was a great success but they failed to say how many turned up. We’re waiting for them to tell us, in response to our Freedom of Information request, how many of LAST year’s recruits actually lasted the course and how many staff they’ve managed to lose during the year. They’ve got til next Monday and you can be sure we’ll be getting the information out here.
In the meantime, our advice to parents and students considering going there in September is: don’t touch it with the proverbial barge pole! There’s still time to claim your place at your current school or even find an alternative if you have fallen out with your current school.