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Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00

Twydall Primary School: Commonsense rules with Governing Body decision to delay becoming a Sponsored Academy

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Governors of Twydall Primary School were asked at their Governing Body meeting last night to approve a binding resolution at the GB meeting last evening, for the school to become a Sponsored Academy.  The resolution was put by Medway Council which appeared to be trying to steamroller the decision through, as explained in my previous article here, only to back down on its demand at the last moment.


In the event, and following wide media coverage, articles on this website, a Facebook Campaign and a parental demonstration against the vote last evening, Governors resolved not to put the motion to the vote, but to postpone any decision until there had been a full consultation next term on whether to go down this path.

Many other schools have come under similar pressures and caved in, and this outcome shows that there can be another way, a precedent that may well be copied elsewhere in the country.....


The key to what looks a very sensible way forward, is that governors have not rejected the proposal to convert to a sponsored academy outright, which could have triggered government into stepping in and forcing the issue. 

Whilst the details of the GB meeting remain confidential at present, those parents demonstrating outside the school were told the broad outcome by governors after the meeting, and other parent bodies will inevitably use this example to avoid their own schools being railroaded in the same way. It may well be that Governors of Twydall Primary would be willing to share their approach.

What a pity that the arrangement revealed in the latest Monitoring Report by OFSTED, whereby Medway was committed to bringing in the headteacher of a neighbouring Outstanding School with a similar strong Special Education Needs profile to support the school for two days a week, appears never to have existed. Indeed, I have found it impossible to identify a school with such a profile.

There is no doubt that there are serious issues to resolve with the management of the school. Some of the most important are focused around the needs of children with SEN and how they are managed in a normal classroom situation. Whilst I don't claim to be an SEN expert, the current 100% integration of such a high proportion of children with special needs requires particular expertise, although support in the school appears very light. This clearly has to be a top priority for next term. Medway surely has an obligation to provide quality support now, having been criticised in the Monitoring Inspection Report for the nature of that support in the past. 

In the meantime, my congratulations once again to those whose aim has been achieved. It has been a difficult and fast moving situation, and the outcome appears the best possible, allowing governors to address issues and come to a rational decision about the future of the school after proper consultation. Of course, in the future they may well decide that Sponsorship is the best route for the school, but this would then be a properly reasoned decision, rather than the recent attempt to get rid of the school at any price. 

Read 11166 times Last modified on Thursday, 04 September 2014 23:35

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