South Wolds Academy

We understand the governors are considering joining forces with a multi-academy trust which consists of two other schools, West Bridgford and Ripley Academies (so, not very ‘multi’, really!) The letter to parents from the Chair of Governors includes the following list of benefits of South Wolds joining East Midlands Educational Trust (as it’s called):

“The benefits of joining a multi-academy trust are numerous [There are three – is that “numerous”?]. We believe that students will benefit:

  • –  directly through enhanced curriculum and enrichment opportunities. We will have access to many opportunities as part of a group of schools that a single academy cannot offer students;
  • –  indirectly through financial efficiencies that can be achieved through being part of a larger organisation;
  • –  through staff having access to enhanced professional development and career progression opportunities.”

Read those again and, yes, the Chair of Governors really IS arguing that rather than ‘go it alone’ South Wolds would have better opportunities “as part of a group of schools”, staff could have “enhanced professional development and career progression opportunities” and there would be “financial efficiencies” to be achieved by “being part of a larger organisation”! In other words, arguments that would have been put when the school originally ‘academised’ as reasons NOT to leave the ‘group of schools’ and ‘larger organisation” that is the local authority? Except that now they are ‘opting into’ a much smaller group and organisation. We do wonder if Ms Foale, the Chair of Governors at South Wolds, sees no irony in the words she has written.

We understand that the NUT is currently organising a meeting with a view to ensuring that staff conditions of service are not worsened. Incidentally, what we posted in February 2013, in this blog, is still relevant.

Perhaps it is also worth noting that the Head at Beeston Fields Primary has told parents, via her letter, of the benefits of leaving the larger organisation of Nottinghamshire LA and joining a grouping of four primary schools, in similar terms.

South Wolds and South Nottinghamshire Academy

The head teacher and the governors of the South Wolds Academy and Sixth Form have voted to consider becoming a multi-academy trust, joining forces with South Nottinghamshire College. This creates the position of ‘Joint Headship’, taken up by the head teacher of the South Wolds Academy. Staff were not involved up to this point and the move has, inevitably, resulted in more questions than answers. However, attempts by the management to justify themselves illustrate the precarious state of the UK state education system at present, and to those considering academisation, that this is not the end of the matter. Continue reading