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How to get information from an academy

(4 Posts)
yellowsubmarine53 Mon 22-Oct-12 21:14:47

My children's primary school was forced to become a sponsored primary school from this September. It's in special measures. This wasn't a popular move in the local community and the academy chain made lots of promises about how they would improve the school.

My children are doing very well and are happy, which is fortunate as there isn't another local school that they would get into.

Since September, parents have received a single sided sheet of paper telling us the names of people in the new governing body. And that's it. I was expecting some meetings or letters from the academy sponsor telling us what will be happening in the school ie the improvements that they're making but there's been nothing at all. A glossy brochure about the 'new academy' was put into my children's book bag a few weeks ago, which was pretty much a work of fiction (says there is an after school club - there isn't; claims a 'literacy specialism' - school has poor literacy results as v high levels of SEN, EAL, traveller children; that 6 weekly reports would come home - no sign of this yet!)

Anyone who can is taking their child out and the general gossip is that the teachers all want to leave. I've written to the Head asking a few questions, though no reply yet, although I sort of feel that communication with a representative from the academy chain would be more appropriate (she was TUPED over like the rest of the staff).

I don't know what to do! I find myself worrying constantly about what's going to happen (can a school go downhill from special measures?) and don't have anyone offering me answers or even basic information.

If I can get no response from the Head, who is the next point of contact? Has anyone else had any experience of this - do academy chains make any sort of attempt to communicate with the parents of schools they've taken over?


warwick1 Wed 07-Nov-12 18:30:41

Which academy chain has taken over your school?

TunaPastaBake Thu 08-Nov-12 14:37:44

If no reply from Head go to Chair of Governors.

wellInever2 Thu 08-Nov-12 16:46:12

Unfortunately if your school has been taken over by a sponsor then the local governing board including chair will be appointed by the trust board and are only there to implement trust board (academy chain group) decisions - see funding agreement. With sponsored academies unfortunately there is unlikely to be any local accountability, in fact you will be lucky from what I've experienced to have the sponsors take any responsibility either - certainly no transparency. As you say, chain groups tend to present generic ficticious glossy brochures. While searching for a school for my son I have collected several from the same sponsor for different schools and they all more or less say the same only the pictures are different. I guess that is one of the expensive services these chain groups offer their 'new academies'.

Don't blame the local head or senior team, once taken over they have little control over what happens in their schools it appears, despite what it says in the glossy brochure and on their new flashy web sites, (another expensive service provided by the trust company usually).

You will probably find the renumeration of academy staff (those left working in the academy after the first year) and academy chain sponsor staff interesting though.

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