Friday 6 March 2015


Press release from Brent Teachers' Panel

Ofsted accused of deliberately failing Brent Primary

At a well attended meeting on Wednesday 4th March at St Andrew's Church in Willesden, parents and staff from St Andrew and St Francis C of E Primary School in Belton Rd, Willesden, London were joined by members of the community to voice their anger at the school being forced to become an academy.

John Roche, who spoke for the staff and has been a teacher at the school some years, spoke about how the Year 6 results in the summer had been the best ever and among the best in the country. Ofsted monitoring visits have said that the school is making good progress. He questioned the whole premise of the Ofsted inspection that had 'failed' the school. He had seen documents obtained under Freedom of Information requests that clearly showed original grades being crossed out and lowered. “Give us our own Headteacher, our own Board of Governors and give parents back their voice” he said to loud applause.   

Irene Scorer, the parent speaker, said that parents need to stand next to their teachers and support them. “Start standing up as parents and say no to an academy. For our children's benefit we have to.” She also warned about the dangers of privatisation and running schools for profit. 

Hank Roberts, who spoke for the Unions, said that this was a government conspiracy. The aim was to turn all schools into academies and then run them for profit. He explained the history of how schools had first been bribed into becoming academies and how when the money dried up they are being forced. He quoted from the Parliamentary Education Committee’s report on Academies and Free Schools,“We have sought but not found convincing evidence of the impact of academy status
on attainment in primary schools.”He further urged parents to make every effort to ensure that St Andrew and St Francis was not forced to become an academy.

There were lots of contributions and no disagreement that this should be strongly opposed. The meeting also heard from parents, including an ex governor, about the undemocratic ways that the school was now being run with no parent voice on the IEB and with no substantive head causing real difficulties with communication. One parent reminded the audience that academies don't have to have qualified teachers – a way of saving money but bad for the children's education. Parents wondered why there was no substantive headteacher as Mrs Graham had left over a year ago. Jean Roberts, who chaired the meeting, confirmed that it was common practice for the head to be pressured to leave unless they supported an academy and then not to replace them. This made it easier to put in an Interim Executive Board (IEB) to run the school and have temporary heads who would do as they were told.

Among other speakers Pete Murry, Secretary of the Green Party gave the party's support to parents for the campaign and said that the Green Party were totally opposed to the academisation of state education. Dawn Butler, prospective Labour MP for the constituency said that she was shocked to hear that parents had not been given a voice in any decision about the school becoming an academy. A teacher from a Brent school which had been forced to become an academy warned parents that class sizes for example could rise as they had done since his school became an academy. 

The meeting concluded with a rallying call for action to stop the academy. Teachers are currently being balloted for strike action and from what was said in the meeting this action is being supported unanimously. 



Anonymous said...

'He had seen documents obtained under Freedom of Information requests that clearly showed original grades being crossed out and lowered.'
Any more detail on this?

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

"St Francis"? Think this blog has gone to your head, Martin.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe that the UK education system would even dream of allowing non qualifying teachers into schools. Parents/taxpayers need to demand more for their children.
This wouldn't happen in an affluent area.

Anonymous said...

The behaviour has gone down hill since the old head- Mrs. Graham left.All the good teacher have also left the school with only a few good ones remaining. Staff turn over is high. This is not good for children Why has this been allowed to continue. Any complaints that are made to the management are ignored including bullying. This mess has been created by OFSTED who have left a vaccum.