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Parents at St James CofE Junior School call for re-think into academy conversion

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 21, 2014

savestjames

Parents and pupils at St James CofE are against the academy conversion of their school

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ANGRY parents who claim they have been frozen out of a decision-making process to turn St James CofE Junior School in Tredworth into an academy are looking in to a judicial review to appeal the decision.

Families received letters from the school this week stating the Secretary of State was happy for the school to change its status after Governors had voted unanimously in favour of the switch.

In the letter, Chair of Governors Reverend Pat Gifford said an Academy Order had been received.

Three drop-in sessions were staged for parents and staff during the autumn term at the school in Upton Street and further consultation events are being lined up to give more information on the process of St James becoming a church-sponsored academy.

But 600 people have signed an petition against the move. Many say the consultation process fell well short of what was required and some parents were oblivious to the change. They have now called for a secret ballot to be staged to find out what the majority of parents want.

Emma Larkman, spokesperson for parent group Save St James, said: “The order has been issued, but not signed. We are taking legal advice about the possibility of a judicial review.

"We want the governors to vote again on this.

It is not the best use of funds to change to school’s status, just because it is in political fashion. The school is progressing and has recently had a positive Local Authority review.

“The whole academy row is distracting the governors away from what is important, and that is improving the school. We are worried about the long-term impact of it becoming an academy.

“For many parents the letter from Reverend Gifford was the first they had heard about the momentous change for their school.”

Emma has called for better communication to help build bridges between parents and governors.

The school was placed in special measures in September after education watchdog Ofsted criticised pupil achievement and teaching standards.

The school was contacted for comment on Monday, but said they were unable to respond until the end of the week.

The school’s chairman of governors, Pat Gifford, previously said: “The Government requires every school that goes into special measures to become a sponsored academy. As St James is a Church of England school, the Diocese was contacted by the Department for Education about becoming that sponsor.”

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  • IloveBritain  |  February 23 2014, 1:54PM

    A ballot should be held to decide the future of the school. Parents should be allowed to take part in decision making.

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