Academy criticised over cuts threat

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A primary school in Greenwich is the latest to come under criticism from anti-academy campaigners as details emerge of potential cuts.

Maritime Academy Trust, which runs Brooklands Primary School in Kidbrooke, has come under fire for placing jobs at risk.

It follows strikes at The Halley Academy and the ongoing saga at The John Roan over forced "academisation".

The MAT has been criticised for placing a pair of office staff at risk of redundancy, with a special needs assistant having already left.

Tiffany Beck, the trust’s chair of trustees, said: “As is prudent for any employer, we are reviewing how as an organisation we deliver key services to ensure consistency, compliance with statutory requirements, and realise better ways of working.

“We are currently consulting with administrative staff on proposals to centralise key finance and HR functions across the trust. Affected staff are being fully engaged in this process as are their Trade Union Representatives.

“It would be inappropriate to comment on details or implications for any individual members of staff as the proposals have not yet been finalised.”

The MAT runs schools across London and Kent, having taken on Brooklands Park in 2013.

Academies are funded by the government, not the local council, and have more control over curriculum, admissions and pay.

The day-to-day running of the school is with the head teacher or principal, but they are overseen by charitable bodies called academy trusts.

Simon O’Hara, spokesman for the Anti Academies Alliance, said that examples such as this show academisation as a “failed experiment.”

He said: “Schools are caught between the hammer of austerity and the anvil of privatisation.

“Academisation is part of this and where a trust ‘toploads’ its staffing structure with senior managers, the inevitable consequence is what is happening at Brooklands – redundancies and a contraction of provision for all the children.

“We need a full and open debate across society about how we can build a comprehensive, inclusive and democratic national education service – one that pledges to replace the failed experiment of academisation.”

One of the first elite football academies for girls to open in Peterlee

Peterlee will see one of the first elite football academies for girls in the country.

St Bede's Comprehensive school will open its doors to the most promising young female players in the region in September.

The hope is they'll deliver the professional footballers of the future, with thriving senior clubs on the doorstep ready to reap the benefits.

Getty Creative Stock

Council bosses concern over parents pulling children out of South Shields School

Local Democracy Reporting Service

James Harrison

Extra strain is being piled on a struggling school because parents are pulling their children out in fear of it closing, according to council bosses.

South Shields School was told to convert to an academy last year after being marked inadequate by Ofsted inspectors.

But now, after failing to find a suitable academy sponsor, it faces the prospect of being shut down in 2020, with falling pupil numbers threatening its financial viability.

The school, in Nevinson Avenue, currently has about 550 pupils on its roll and is expected to be less than half full by 2020/21.

According to a report prepared for the council, 129 transfer requests have been submitted by parents.

"The council wrote to all parents to explain the benefits of their children returning to South Shields School until the time came for them to move. Despite that the viability of the school has been rather challenged by the number of in-term transfer requests."

Councillor Moira SmithCabinet member for Children, Adults and Families