Flying High

‘New-kid-on-the-block’, the Flying High Multi-Academy Trust, suddenly looks like it is trying to rival local ‘trusts’ such as ‘George Spencer’, ‘Greenwood Dale’ and the burgeoning ‘Torch’. So, we  are going to take a closer look over the next couple of weeks, as the consultation at Edwalton Primary School continues and the process at Beeston Fields rolls on, with both schools set to join ‘Flying High’ by the start of the new school year.

Who are Flying High Trust, what do they believe in, what are they trying to achieve and how do they aim to go about it?

Already, their claims to emphasise close working with parents and the community look a bit hollow considering the less-than-transparent consultation processes at Edwalton and Beeston Fields. Concerns about this lack of transparency have been voiced elsewhere.

We will take a look at the publicly available information and try to make contact. Obviously, we’ll report back. If you are at Edwalton or Beeston Fields,  this will be of particular interest, but any staff or parents at any other primary school in the area that is not already an academy needs to pay attention as who knows where they’ll focus next?

[As ever, if you are involved with the Flying High Trust, or either Edwalton or Beeston Fields Primary Schools, we’d love to hear from you. Whatever your point of view, we will publish it (unless it is libellous or offends good taste!) as we want to encourage an open debate. If you wish to comment anonymously, use the ‘Contribute’ button on our home page – you will need to give your email address to show ‘good faith’ but we will not publish it or identify you if you don’t want us to.]

Yet another forced academisation

Unsurprising really, but it has just been announced that Sinfin Community School in Derby WILL be converted into an academy. Those who thought Gove’s recent setbacks would divert him from his purpose were wrong. The new academy — converted as early as 1 May this year, according to some reports — will be run under the auspices of Greenwood Dale in Nottingham.

Interesting to compare Sinfin with the Djanogly Academy in Nottingham: both serve difficult areas and have had questionable results for some time. Of course, Djanogly IS an academy so can’t be turned into one, but it HAS been told by the DfE to ‘pull its socks up’, no time limit, and if it doesn’t improve it will have its sponsor forcibly changed. Not sure how that’s a threat. By the way, last year’s GCSE 5+EM results were several points below the government ‘floor target’ whereas Sinfin’s were just above.

Another curiosity: in justifying the Sinfin decision the DfE statement says that more than half the respondents to the consultation were in favour. Now, in the first place, we only have their word for it and, in any case, who knew they were counting? Pretty sure there have been other instances where the consultation, if put to a vote, would have gone the other way but so often ‘consultation’ is rather vague and consists of meetings at which people have a chance to voice concerns but where a head count isn’t taken. At least under the old Baker/Thatcher ‘opting out’ grant maintained madness there was a properly conducted ballot of parents which had to be published. Now, the process is hidden and, indeed, since respondents might well express an opinion without actually saying ‘I’m for’ or ‘I’m against’, it is open to interpretation whether they support or not. Maybe someone needs to do a ‘freedom of information’ request to find out how many responded and how many expressed a clear preference for the school becoming an academy.