Wednesday 19 October 2011

Colley Lane Governors reject academy proposal

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Parents, teachers and campaigners are celebrating the decision of the governors of Colley Lane Primary School on Monday of this week not to proceed with the bid for the school to become an academy.

When the proposal was first promoted in the summers governors were told that it was confidential! As word got out there was a widespread outrage that there should be an attempt to keep a decision involving the future of a this publicly owned community school as a matter of private debate!

Teaching staff voted overwhelmingly against the proposal in an individual ballot organised in school. A well attended public meeting organised by local ward councillors showed that not only were staff opposed, but also the parents.  Campaigners followed this up by organising a  ballot of parents on the school gate. The, count, witnessed by governors, showed 176 opposed to the academy proposal and only 9 in favour. Further votes against came into the school office over the following days. The scale of the vocal opposition from parents and staff helped give confidence to those governors who already had doubts about the Chair of Governor’s and Headteacher’s proposal and won over those who were wavering. The thirty to forty strong lobby by parents and campaigners of the governing body meeting sensed that the mood of governors may have turned against the academy plan.

Later that evening the Chair of Governors phoned local councillor Tim Crumpton to confirm the academy plan had been shelved – a brilliant decision following a determined and energetic campaign. The success was undoubtedly due to a twin track approach – among parents and the community on the one hand and with the staff on the other. This was crucially combined with individual communication with all members of the governing body and an ongoing discussion with as many governors as possible.

As the only primary school that has shown a formal interest in moving to an academy in Dudley, this is a particularly important victory and puts down a marker for the rest of the Borough.

Congratulations to everybody who campaigned, and to the governors for listening to the local community, not Mr Gove.

Tim Crumpton, Shadow cabinet member for children’s services at Dudley Council was one of the councillors who campaigned against the proposal. he will be speaking at the Midlands Anti Academies conference on Saturday 12th November in Birmingham.

 

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