“I feel very used” – ex-governor speaks out about academisation of primary school

The Eastern Daily Press is reporting that a former primary school governor has spoken of how he felt he was “used” during its conversion to an academy.

Ben Woodcock said he decided to speak out about his experiences at Antingham and Southrepps Primary, near Cromer, because of the current controversy about the future of the Hewett School in Norwich.

The former Southrepps parish councillor became a governor in October 2013, the month of an Ofsted inspection which found the school to be “inadequate”.

Mr Woodcock said the Department for Education and Norfolk County Council gave governors no choice but to become an academy, and said a consultation with parents was “bogus”.

Mr Woodcock said: “It was very uncomfortable and stressful as a volunteer giving up their free time. It was almost useless. The process would have happened with or without me. I feel very used because that’s the path they wanted the school to go down, and that was going to be it, at the end of the day.”

The school joined the North Norfolk Academies Trust, based at Sheringham High School, in October 2014.

In a blog post, Mr Woodcock said council and government officials visited governors before the inspection report was published to tell them “the school would need to breakaway from the local authority and seek a new solution”.

He wrote: “Quite simply, both of our visitors were there, being paid, to encourage and shift the school out of the hands of local authority and into systems currently being pushed by the government…”

More at: “I feel very used” – ex-governor speaks out about academisation of Antingham and Southrepps Primary School


You can see Ben Woodcock’s blog post in full on Medium at: Seeing the Hewett School in the news makes me feel ‘sick’


Strong words from Mr Woodcock about his experiences of the academisation of Antingham & Southrepps Primary School.

Anyone feel they have been through something similar or empathise with the way it has left him feeling? 

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Academies, Local authorities and Primary.


  1. 5N_Afzal

    …it was clear that the LA wanted to ditch the school from their books.”
    So, what should have happened then?

  2. In 2012, another Norfolk governor said his school ‘jumped’ before it was pushed.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/04/the-school-%E2%80%9Cjumped-before-it-was-pushed%E2%80%9D-admits-governor-of-community-school-faced-with-academy-conversion/
    David Wolfe QC told the Ed Select Committee such schools were ‘near-boiled frogs’.  His quote was based on remarks from a DfE broker.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/03/three-types-of-academies-rewarded-succeeders-punished-failures-and-near-boiled-frogs/
    Perhaps more ex-governors (and ex-heads despite gagging orders that may be in place) should come forward and describe how their academy conversion and consultation proceeded.

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