Academies

Parent pushback forces academy takeover rethink

Plans to academise Sheffield's last local authority-maintained secondary have been pushed back

Plans to academise Sheffield's last local authority-maintained secondary have been pushed back

14 May 2023, 5:00

More from this author

Parent power has pushed back plans to academise Sheffield's last maintained secondary school

Parent power has pushed back plans to convert Sheffield’s last local authority-maintained secondary into an academy, but sparked inequality concerns over schools without such well-educated parents.

Yorkshire and Humber regional director Alison Wilson has deferred a decision for the Brigantia Learning Trust to take over King Edward VII School (KES).

Education chiefs wanted the chain to take over KES – which calls itself one of the “most prestigious” secondaries in the city – following its ‘inadequate’ Ofsted in September.

But the proposal was only spotted when education professor Mark Boylan, whose daughter Sophia attends the school, stumbled upon an online copy of the regional advisory board meeting’s agenda a week before it took place. 

Parents who challenged the decision said this left them with just three days to make their views known. They also claimed KES was not made aware until this point. 

“It’s not right that parents who’ve got the resources of various types – among us are journalists, campaigners and lawyers – got the decision deferred,” Boylan said.

“Whereas parents in other places may be none the wiser, and not even know there’s an agenda or that they can make a representation. There’s inequity to the decision-making process.” 

Wilson decided to push the decision back to June or July “to allow further analysis to be carried out, comparing a number of suitable multi-academy trusts, including Brigantia”. 

KES headteacher Linda Godden stated in a letter the regional director had “looked at all the communications she received from the school, parents, carers and external parties” ahead of the meeting. 

General ‘lack of transparency’ around academisation

Two of Brigantia’s five schools are classed as “coasting”, as they received two less-than-good Ofsteds in a row. 

The government gave itself powers last year to move primaries and secondaries struggling to move out of ‘requires improvement’ into alternative trusts – but opponents claimed KES’s proposed move flew in the face of the crackdown.

“If you are voluntarily academised, parents get consulted, but as soon as it’s forced academisation, they’re not,” Boylan added.

“Beyond this particular example, there’s a general issue with the lack of transparency, lack of involvement of schools – it’s just rubbish.” 

A Brigantia spokesperson said “clarification” of what was discussed at the advisory board meeting “will be communicated as and when we are able to share this information”. 

The Department for Education stressed KES “as with any school that receives an overall judgement of ‘inadequate’, will become an academy and be transferred to a strong trust”. 

A spokesperson added further analysis will “ensure the school is transferred to the most appropriate trust with a strong track record of ensuring pupils receive the highest standard of education – while retaining its historic ethos.”

The spokesperson did not respond when asked why analysis was not done prior to the meeting. 

Latest education roles from

Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA)

Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA)

Platanos College

Teacher of Boys’ PE

Teacher of Boys’ PE

Platanos College

Head of Girls’ PE

Head of Girls’ PE

Platanos College

Art Teacher

Art Teacher

Platanos College

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Ark Greenwich Free School

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, schools and colleges can be confident that learners...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspiring Education Leaders for 10 Years

The 10th Inspiring Leadership Conference is to be held on 13 and 14 June 2024 at the ICC in...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspire creativity in your classroom. Sky Arts’ Access All Arts week is back!

Now in its third year, Access All Arts week is a nationwide celebration of creativity for primary schools (17-21...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Unleash the Power of Sport in your setting this summer! National School Sports Week is back!

Unleash the Power of Sport this summer with National School Sports Week powered by Monster Kickabout! From 17-23 June,...

SWAdvertorial

More from this theme

Academies

Ministers face another £500k loss on failed £35m free school

Parkfield also says it ‘can’t compete’ with a newer free school, laying bare problems with government’s flagship policy

Jack Dyson
Academies

Transparency calls over secret £200m academy trust handouts

Investigation into extra cash available to trusts finds half not open to applications, and one has no public presence...

Jack Dyson
Academies

The 8 funding streams for new trusts or those looking to grow…

Schools Week's explainer on the extra funding available to trusts, what it is for and how much is available

Jack Dyson
Academies

DfE in court over falling rolls academy plan

High Court challenge over its decision to academise a school council planned to close amid falling rolls

Jack Dyson

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *