Friday 23 November 2012

Governors torn over Preston Manor academy decision

Guest blog from someone who attended  Wednesday's meeting about Preston Manor's possible conversion to a Co-operative Academy.
Both Matthew Lantos, the headteacher, and the education unions made presentations to staff and parents.  No-one spoke up for an academy. The financial argument about the loss of money if the school didn't convert was put as a key reason by  Lantos for converting now and not waiting.

Not many parents attended, the weather not conducive but also, as one parent said,  many had decided  'its a done deal so why bother'. However there was a good debate with the parent governors and those from the PTA plus some other parents. They asked Matthew Lantos detailed questions about finances, quality of provision, potential use of unqualified teachers, changes in the curriculum and what powers the governors would have if the secretary of state had the ultimate say. 

Everyone agreed that no-one could predict what will happen financially. There was a large deficit of £1bn  in the DfE academy budget. The unions said that this was why both staff and parents should say no to an academy. Things may be OK in the short term but if a certain point was reached with a large number of schools converting - currently only about 10% of all schools in England have converted - then Gove could decide to take over individual converter academies and make them part of a chain. 

The move by Gove to have schools run for profit had already started.  The Co-op principles were seen as very important by the Governors as they would be enshrined in law in the articles. This would make it very difficult to change them. It was clear that governors are very torn and have a difficult decision to make. Do get back to me if you need anything else.

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