Friday 2 December 2011

Otley Prince Henry’s ignores massive opposition to Academy conversion

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Otley Prince Henry’s school in Leeds converted to an Academy on 1st December despite massive sustained opposition from all stakeholders at the school.

The teachers who were members of NASUWT and NUT had 6 days of strike action over 3 weeks.

During this time a public meeting was organised by Otley Town Council on 22nd November. This was held in the Parish Church and was attended by 260 parents, pupils, ex-governors, teachers and members of the community. There were unanimous opposition to the school converting to an academy.

It was agreed to challenge the decision to convert on a number of fronts.

It was agreed to; send a deputation to the DFE to see Michael Gove, a deputation to the Chair of Childrens services, there were unanimous votes of no confidence in the Chair of the Governing Body and the Headteacher (with a few abstentions)  and a march around the town was planned for Saturday 26th November.

On the Saturday about 350 people assembled at the school gates, marched around the town with much support along the way from local residents, a rally was then held on a local sports ground.

The parents have continued each day this week with a picket at the school gates.

On the day of conversion about 50 parents and sixth form students assembled at the gates all dressed in black and wearing gags to show how they have not had a voice in the process. Despite all this opposition from all sectors of the community, the school still converted on 1st December.

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8 comments

  1. Parent Power said:

    and the Anti-Academy movement in Otley continues to be demeaned by a facebook site of 400 members mainly children that allows racist comments and accusations of lying and intimidation against the school management team to be posted.

    7 December 2011 at 11:45am
  2. Howard Stones said:

    Parent Power is highly selective in this divisive and untrue account of the anti academy movement in Otley. Parent Power demeans the campaign more than the couple of inappropriate comments that were made on the site and which did not reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of people who have posted on that site, including local parents, pupils, councillors and other members of the campaign. Parent Power seems to think that describing the members as ‘mainly children’ means that their views can be dismissed. In fact, the two potentially racist comments were not made by children, but by adults. The comments posted by the young people have been intelligent and have not gone in for ad hominem arguments in the way that the head teacher and governors at the school did.

    To allege that the person who set up the site ‘allows’ racist and intimidating comments is a serious allegation and not one that is to be taken seriously, when the fact remains that we are talking about a very small number on a public site which were removed when discovered. It’s a public site and messages were removed that were thought to be personal.

    The site contains many very appropriate comments on the campaign and was used in order to communicate information about joining the pickets, leafleting the town and organising for meetings and the march.

    Parent Power’s opinion does not represent the views of campaigners in the town who have seen the local community united in their opposition to the academy and the appalling process by which the law allows this to happen.

    7 December 2011 at 9:45pm
  3. Janet said:

    Thanks, Howard, for giving the facts about the Otkley campaign.
    It is true that those who object to our campaigns never seem to have a substantial argument to advance their case, and only have attempts to smear and undermine at their disposal.

    8 December 2011 at 10:26am
  4. P.Pretty said:

    To All the people opposed to the change at your school,as a governor at a primary school myself i am in total support of your opposition there is nothing as i can see that will improve the status of your and for the Governing body to decide on such an important issue when childrens future are at stake without any consultation with the parents defies logic.I will continue to monitor your position with interest.

    8 December 2011 at 5:02pm
  5. P.Pretty said:

    P.Pretty said:

    To All the people opposed to the change at your school,as a governor at a primary school myself i am in total support of your opposition there is nothing as i can see that will improve the status of your school and for the Governing body to decide on such an important issue when childrens future are at stake without any consultation with the parents defies logic.I will continue to monitor your position with interest.My appologies for the missing word

    8 December 2011 at 5:05pm
  6. Parent Power said:

    sigh, in the words of Mandy Rice Davies…” well you would say that wouldn’t you ? ” once again misinterpreted…the whole point is that the potentially racist comments were made by adults and the moderators, knowing kids were members , took 4 days to remove them….in the meantime happily agreeing with disclaimers against personal abuse yet retaining comment that accused the schools managment team of lying. and intimidation.

    9 December 2011 at 7:36pm
  7. Howard Stones said:

    You’re welcome, Janet. The overwhelming opposition to academy status and the tremendous show of support for the teachers’ action is the ‘the whole point’, I would have thought.

    9 December 2011 at 10:56pm
  8. tony tigwell said:

    Well done Otley people for your vigorous campaign to save your school for the community. Here in Sheffield, we take inspiration from you to fight to prevent King Ecgbert Comprehensive from converting to Academy status. Over 20 parents came to our initial campaign meeting on Wed. and we are up and running – calling for a ballot of parents/other stakeholders. Governors meet on Jan.17th. to decide. We’e short of time, so wish us true grit!

    10 December 2011 at 10:32am