23rd June 2014
Dear Interim Executive Board,
We are writing to you on behalf of the Ask St Joseph’s Parents group. We are a parent led community group, who believe that parents at St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School have not been adequately informed and consulted about the proposed conversion to Academy status as part of a Multi Academy Company. In recent days the group has established an online petition demanding an open and democratic consultation based on full and unbiased information, a public meeting with speakers for and against and a community vote. To date, in excess of 50 people have signed the petition and this is growing daily. You can view the online petition via http://www.askstjosephsparents.wordpress.com.
A ‘consultation’ meeting was held at the school on April 23rd 2013 by the former Head Teacher and Governing Body. The meeting failed to adequately inform parents about, explain or evidence, the arguments for MAC conversion. Consideration of the potential adverse impacts of MAC conversion was omitted. We therefore question whether St. Joseph’s met its obligatory responsibility (as detailed by the DfE) to adequately inform and consult with stakeholders.
Following the meeting, the Head Teacher and the Governing Body voted to proceed with MAC conversion. Within weeks the school was placed in special measures by OFSTED and the school’s leadership and management were judged inadequate. The school now finds itself in a very different position.
Ask St Joseph’s Parents believe that changes should only be made after a full and open dialogue with all interested parties and urge the school to:
- Hold an urgent public meeting for parents and members of the Parish and local community to hear arguments for and against conversion, where stakeholders can ask questions about the proposal and expect to have these answered.
- Provide parents and stakeholders with full details of what steps have already been taken in the conversion process, including when the DfE conversion grant was applied for and the proposed conversion date.
- Hold an urgent full and meaningful consultation process, at the end of which a ballot of parents is held to approve or reject the proposal.
- Provide parents and other stakeholders with a full consultation document, in advance of a public meeting, detailing the educational and financial justifications and a full impact assessment of how academy status will affect different groups of pupils.
- With 2 out of the 6 schools now in Special Measures, provide detailed information about the strategies and potential impacts for the MAC.
- Give an undertaking that St Joseph’s conversion will not proceed any further until an open and democratic consultation based on full and unbiased information, a public meeting with speakers for and against and a community vote have informed the process.
We look forward to an urgent written response within 7 working days to the group and the wider parent body.
CC: Head Teacher
Diocesan Education Service
MAC Partnership Manager