The Governors of Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) have decided to plough on with plans to convert the school to academy status despite its two proposed partner schools deciding to drop out of the process in recent months.
BSCS, Brimsham Green School (BGS) and Patchway Community College (PCC) had collectively applied to the Department for Education to become a chain (federation) academy and each school began its own stakeholder consultation process in early May.
News that all was not well in the partnership first surfaced on Bradley Stoke Radio’s Big Issues programme on Thursday 9th June, when BSCS Headteacher Dave Baker revealed that Brimsham Green School had withdrawn from the process.
Research shows that the news had already been made public by BGS Headteacher Alun Williams in a newsletter published on 27th May, in which he wrote:
“Feedback from this consultation has been discussed and the Governors and I have decided that at this point, we do not wish to move to academy status. This decision was taken because of the feedback from parents, staff and students. Additionally, after much research we felt that there would be no short term gains educationally or financially. Therefore, Brimsham Green will remain as a LA [Local Authority] school in the short term.”
The setback was compounded earlier this week when a BSCS letter dated 14th July revealed that “the Governors of Patchway Community College have … decided they will remain as a Local Authority Community School”.
The main reasons for the PPC decision are said to have been communicated to BSCS as follows:
- The financial benefits for PCC are not significant enough in relation to the additional costs and perceived risks
- The views of PCC stakeholders including Staff, Parents and Students
- The potential loss of autonomy
- Wanting to maintain focus on PCC student progress and success
The BSCS Governors say they met with staff earlier this week to provide another opportunity for them to raise questions or reiterate points ahead of a Governers’ meeting on Wednesday (13th July), where a decision to “convert to academy status with effect from 1st January 2012 but as a federation of one school” was unanimously approved.
The BSCS letter concludes:
“This provides an opportunity for BSCS to establish a ‘fit for future’ governance and leadership structure which retains the distinctive characteristics and ethos evident within our outstanding school AND focus on driving continuous school improvement for the benefit of young people.”
The school’s legal advisors will now be instructed to establish an academy trust (the name of which has yet to be confirmed) and an academy conversion working group will be set up to oversee the conversion process.
The defections of BSG and PCC leave Bradley Stoke Community School as the only one in South Gloucestershire to have a “live” application for conversion to academy status lodged with the Department of Education.
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