Friday, 7 June 2013

Gladstone Park governors decide to pursue CfBT academisation

Gladstone Park Primary School's Chair of Governors has written to parents today to inform them that the governing body has agreed to work with the CfBT (Centre for British Teachers) Schools Trust, a charity, as their preferred academy sponsor and that the Department for Education is happy with the proposal. CfBT runs academies, free schools and private schools.

Parents and pupils reject academisation
Anne Kinderlerer, chair of governors reported that at her meeting with Michael Gove; where she was accompanied by the Governing Body's Chair of  Finance, Angus Hislop; they had 'emphasised the school's many strengths' and this was acknowledged by Gove. In turn Kinderlerer and Hislop agreed that Ofsted had identified specific weaknesses. Michael Gove ackowledged the progress made in addressing the weaknesses identified by Ofsted.

Her concluding paragraph in the Gove meeting report does not in itself imply academisation:
We also agreed that the school needs rapidly to identify a secure, robust future governance arrangement, but that the Department would work constructively with the school to take this forward.
The Parents Action Group are likely to argue that this could have been done without academisation. I agree with them.

However the Governing Body is now waiting for CfBT to undertake 'due diligence' to make sure that the school is a a financially and structurally secure state and say they will provide further information for staff and parents during this process, including meetings with CfBT and governors.

Parents and unions will be looking closely at what say they will have on academy conversion. Will they have a secret ballot including the option of non-conversion and remaining with the local authority?

Ann Kinderlerer states:
The outcome of this process, if all goes well, will be the development of a preferred option for academy conversion on which parents and staff can be consulted before the Governing Body considers any final decision to apply to the Secretary of State for an academy order - which in turn would be considered by the Secretary of State.
This seems to indicate 'consultation' which will be taken into account but not a ballot. The only option appears to be 'a preferred option for academy conversion' rather than staying with the local authority,  a federation or some other arrangement.

The focus will now be on digging a little deeper into CfBT's credentials.

The Chair of the Trustees is Philip Graf former Chief Executive of Trinity Mirror PLC and now CVhairman of the Gambling Commission and Vice Chair of CRISIS.

The Director of Education is Sir Jim Rose.This is what the CfBT website says about Rose. The spelling mistakes are CfBT's:
Jim Rose was formerly Her Majesty’s Inspector (HMI) and Director of Inspection for the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted). He retired from Ofsted in July 1999 and has since acted as a consultant to the Department for Children, Schools and Families on nursery and primary education, and workforce training. At the request of the Secretary of State, he chaired the 1999 Independent Scrutiny of the National Assessment Tests for Primary Schools. He also led the independant Reviews of Teaching of Early Reading (2006), of the Primary Curriculum, and of Dyslexia (2009), and published an independant review of the primary curriculum in April 2009.

Before joining HMI, Jim held headships of two large, inner-city primary schools. His senior posts within HMI include Chief Inspector of Primary Education (3 to 13), responsibilities for Special Educational Needs (SEN), the education of ethnic minority pupils, and initial teacher training (ITT). He has advised several overseas governments on school inspection, and has considerable international experience of school educational systems. He is President of the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

Rose has clashed with children's authors Michael Rosen and Michael MoLINK . He was one of the 'Three Wise Men' (the others were Chris Woodhead and Robin Alexander) appointed by the Conservative Government in the 1990s to report on primary schooling. John  Major used the findings to attack child-centred education and increased centralised control over teaching.
rpurgo over the teaching of phonics

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