Local developments

After a ‘winter lull’ things are beginning to happen locally. There has been some good news with Bispham Drive and Bramcote Hills Primary schools. Both sets of governors have decided to delay a decision on ‘academy conversion’ for a while. In the case of Bispham it is not clear whether this is due to the pressure brought to bear by members of staff who oppose academisation. The delay is only until the end of the academic year so there is no room for complacency. At Bramcote Hills Primary, a good process of calm consideration of the pros and cons has led to a decision to ‘wait and see’ and look again in a year’s time. This is how all schools should have been approaching this momentous decision, but, sadly, few have.

The consultation period for Fairfield Primary ends shortly — 22nd February — and it is important that everyone who has a view lets the governors know before that date*. This group is currently drafting a letter that will be sent in the next few days. We do not know what will happen after 22nd: will the governors publish the results of their consultation?

A meeting of primary school teachers who might possibly be affected by academisation was held recently.

Wherever we hear of potential conversions, we almost always hear of subterfuge, small groups of governors acting without the knowledge of the whole body, letters being sent without the prior knowledge of the full governing body, teaching staff kept in the dark until the last minute, governors, parents and teachers only being given arguments FOR the conversion. It makes you wonder: what are the proponents of academies afraid of!

There are also a lot of developments nationally regarding academies, with revelations that Michael Gove is considering privatisation of academies (and free schools) and also that his officials have been offering ‘bribes’ to schools who are reluctant to convert.

It is also becoming clear that the act of converting is not the end of the matter. We know of two schools (academies) in our area who are undergoing some kind of ‘merger’.

Now is absolutely the WRONG time to be deciding to take what is, of course, a once-and-for-all-time decision.

*Go to the Fairfield school website at http://www.fairfield.notts.sch.uk click on the ‘Contact us’ button, scroll down and complete the contact form (remembering to press ‘Send’ when you have done!)