Parents furious at school takeover
Sexeys School in Bruton is to be taken over. Under plans drawn up recently and following a consultation that to all intents and purposes lasted barely 3 working days, the school is to become part of a multi Academy Trust based in Dorset.
At least that is the path that the Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West, Hannah Woodhouse would like to tread.
Furious at a process one described as a “process lacking transparency, probity or empirical evidence” parents started a petition against the takeover. As of last night it has already received 997 signatures.
The parents were first notified in a letter dated 7th October from the Sherborne Area Schools Trust (the school which leads the Trust scheduled to take over Sexeys) which included the letter from the Regional Schools Commissioner outlining the proposals.
That invited parents to a meeting at Sexeys on the 9th October.
This in turn kicked off a consultation process that is due to end this morning, the 14th October. On any objective assessment that is not adequate for a proper and transparent consultation process.
On the 10th October, the day after the school meeting some parents contacted the Town Council asking for them to step in.
Other parents have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson. Some to local MP David Warburton. Mr Warburton told us he would be meeting with the Secretary of State today (14th October) to discuss the issue.
We approached the chair of Bruton Town Council, Ewan Jones to ask what the Town Council thought. Mr Jones explained an extraordinary meeting of the Town Council had been called for this Wednesday, 16th October at 8pm. This will give the public chance to express their views, and the Town Council the chance to formalise their own corporate view.
At issue is the fact that under the current timetable, after a minimal period of consultation, a final decision is due to be taken (by the SW Head Teacher Board) on 21st October.
That more than anything else is what has upset people. They feel railroaded and that due process has not been followed.
I look forward to a longer piece on this. There is much to discuss and unpick. The comparative value of the assets of Sexey’s Bruton compared those of the rest of SAST. SAST’s lack of any experience running a state sector boarding school. The lack of consideration given to other Multi Academy Trusts. The scant regard paid to OFSTED’s timetable for school improvement and the ignoring of the considerable progress made under the current and popular head master. It is very hard to see how the Regional Schools Commissioners proposal was arrived at and the lack of consultation has been unconscionable. For now any further progress with the proposal must be suspended until a full, Fair and open consultation has been achieved. Sean Dromgoole (Labour)