Parents’ anger at ‘bullying’ to turn their school into an academy

Parents at a primary school are demanding a Parliamentary inquiry into what they claim are bullying tactics aimed at forcing their school to become one of the Government’s flagship academies. This is from the Independent…

The move comes after it was revealed the headteacher, Caroline Phillips, of Roke primary school in Croydon, south London, was resigning a day after they had been informed that she was off work due to stress.

They are also angry that academy chain the Harris Federation is advertising for a new headteacher for the school before an official consultation on its future has been concluded.

A statement from the parents, who are asking the Parliamentary Ombudsman to intervene and conduct an inquiry into the way the affair has been handled, said they “had little confidence that the outcome of the consultation is not a done deal”.  “In fact, the whole consultation has been branded ‘fake’ by many Roke parents,” it added.

Moves to compel the school to become an academy were announced after a report by education standards watchdog Ofsted delivered a “notice to improve” on the school last year following two favourable inspection reports. The Government made it clear its preferred sponsor for the academy was the Harris Federation set up by carpet magnate Lord Harris – which already runs a chain of academies.

However, a poll of parents revealed 83 per cent opposed the Harris take-over – and would prefer the school to be linked to its neighbouring secondary school, Riddlesdown, with whom it had already forged links to improve its standards.

They were then incensed that the Harris Foundation was put in charge of the consultation over Roke’s future, arguing: “It is not impartial or transparent to have a consultation run by the party that stands to gain most from the outcome.”

In the meantime, a follow up visit by Ofsted acknowledged that the school was making satisfactory progress towards lifting the notice to improve.

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Categories: Academies, Parenting and Primary.

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