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How to get information from an academy

(8 Posts)
yellowsubmarine53 Mon 22-Oct-12 21:47:25

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?

Thanks

TalkinPeace2 Mon 22-Oct-12 21:59:25

not sure - but I cannot be optimistic for you.

if needs be copy your letter to the school, the head of the academy chain, your MP and the dfe

dinkystinky Mon 22-Oct-12 22:01:40

Get in touch with the governors to fund out what is going on?

yellowsubmarine53 Mon 22-Oct-12 22:25:28

Oh, dear talking peace, why do you say that?

Yes, I was thinking maybe Chair of Governors. I would just like some information about what is happening in the school - have they advertised for a new Head as they said they were going to (interim Head acting up), what are the 'improvements' they're making etc. There has been a significant drop in information home - last year, I felt very well informed about what my child was doing (only had one child in the school last year) but this year, I feel completely in the dark. My oldest has gone into Y1 and I know they're doing 'ourselves' as a topic, but don't know anything about the national curriculum or levels, targets etc. A real contrast to my friends' experiences in other schools.

My oldest's school experience has been clouded by my anxiety and worry (we didn't get our higher preferences and the school went into a notice to improve after we'd applied) and I feel so jealous of people who just take their children to school and do a bit of cake baking or whatever for the PTA!

I wish there was another school that they could get into, it wouldn't have to be fantastic, but just make an effort to communicate with parents in a straightforward and honest way.

yellowsubmarine53 Tue 23-Oct-12 07:20:50

Anyone?

dinkystinky Tue 23-Oct-12 09:15:15

The chair of governors is the person who is immediately responsible to you, the parents, and the pupils - speak to them first. If you dont get any joy with them, complain to the CEO of the academy chain - you'll soon get some responses!

Our school is in the process of being turned into an academy so you have my sympathies (and why I've been reading up on the chain of command under academies!) - all you can do is complain, complain, complain and get other parents to complain too about the need for clear communication as to what is going on.

admission Tue 23-Oct-12 10:11:47

I think that your problem is that you want answers now and the school and more especially the governing body does not have them.
The probability is that the GBs focus is currently on finding and appointing a new head teacher, which realistically will not be before Christmas and they will be lucky if they can start before the summer term.
In the short term the interim head should be making strides to improve the school, because as they are in special measures they will be getting a visit from Ofsted every 4 to 6 months and need to show improvement.
The school and academy chain have sold parents a vision of the new school. What they have failed miserably to get across to you as parents is that this is sometime in the future, not next week, not next month and realistically at least 12 months down the line, even if things go really well.
Everything you have said says that it is not going as well as hoped. What is lacking is communication. The school should be communicating what is happening short term to improve the school, they should be communicating about the appointment of a new head. What they should not be doing is giving parents a sugar coated view of a school that you and others know is a complete fantasy. As such I think you should be writing to the Chair of Governors, saying that as you have not received any reply from the interim head teacher, you wish them to explain the glossy brochure and the fantasy land that it portrays.

yellowsubmarine53 Tue 23-Oct-12 19:25:52

Thanks for your responses. I was talking to another parent today and apparently the school is no longer in 'special measures' as officially the old school 'closed' and this is a 'new' one? So Ofsted won't be visiting for some time? I feel slightly deranged that no-one even seems to be certain if the school is in SM or not...

admission, I completely understand that change takes time. As you say, my problem is a combination of the lack of information and falsehoods being published in the prospectus. In the absence of any factual information, it's impossible not to get caught up in anxious rumours about teachers leaving and being very aware of the facts that as many families that can from the settled community are removing their children...

I shall contact the Chair of Governors who, although she has been involved with the school for 7 months, I have only a name for (no idea of who she is, what she is like or even what she looks like). I'm less interested in raising the discrepancy between what the brochure says and what's actually happening in the school than just desperately needing some simple, factual information about what's happening.

I called the LEA today, and my dd remains no 35 on the waiting list for our preferred school. I was prepared to get behind the new management and give it a go, though I feel extremely alarmed that the communication has been so appalling.

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