|Over 110 staff were on strike for 11 strike days|
We are informed that the Department for Education (DfE) has turned down the proposal for The Village school, a special school in Kingsbury, Brent, to form a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) with Woodfield Academy. They say the MAT is not big enough.
A source from within the DfE informed Hank Roberts, NEU Joint Executive member and local NEU NUT section president of the shocking news.
Hank Roberts said:This shows monumental incompetence on the part of the Governors, in particular the Executive Head Kay Charles and the Chair of Governors, Sandra Kabir who drove this project forward despite overwhelming opposition of staff, parents and the community.
The whole deeply flawed MAT idea should now be dropped. Brent Council should also use this opportunity to publicly reiterate its call for The Village school to remain a Local Authority school.
Kay Charles had written to Roberts on 7th March stating:Your speculation around the size of a potential Multi Academy Trust is in error. There is only discussion about Woodfield School and The Village setting up a MAT together, no other schools are being considered.
Hank Roberts continued:So it is clear that it was only these two schools they were consulting on. It would be shameful, if any attempts are made to go secretly scrabbling around in an attempt to find other schools to join them enabling them to make a different proposal, without a full consultation on what would be a new proposal.
Further, the NEU are studying documents that may well prove that there have been financial irregularities at one of the schools.Cllr Jumbo Chan, a Brent Labour councillor said:
NOTE I have raised the possibility that all special (non-mainstream) provision in Brent could end up academised if The Village proposal went ahead LINK. Woodfield, Manor and The Village co-operated in setting up The Avenue special free school which will eventually expand to 100 pupils. The Avenue and Manor form the Brent Specialist Academy Trust. Woodfield is already an academy.The unnecessary decision by the majority of The Village School governing body to become an academy as part of a multi-academy trust was an unpopular one which defied a broad coalition of teachers and support staff, parents and campaigners, so it is very welcomed news that this proposal [may now be/has been] rejected.I was incredibly proud to have supported The Village School’s outstanding, inspirational and passionate teachers and support staff from the onset of their winter campaign. As we now move forward, it is of utmost importance that any popular view is more robustly reflected and enforced.
The statements above by Kay Charles and Hank Roberts are important in that the DfE's opposition on grounds of size could be overcome if all four schools combined in the Brent Specialist Academy Trust.