Stourbridge school chiefs on collision course with parents over academy plan

Redhill School where a row is brewing about plans to go for academy status

Redhill School where a row is brewing about plans to go for academy status

First published in News

PARENTS and teachers at a top Stourbridge school are on a collision course with governors over plans for academy status.

Bosses at Redhill School will vote later this month on whether to apply to move out of local authority control by becoming an academy.

The proposal, which is open for consultation until Friday November 9, sparked the formation of an opposition group called Redhill Schools Concern.

Redhill Schools Concern spokesperson, Pauline Faux, said: “The school has recently had a glowing Ofsted report. No convincing case has been advanced to justify putting that at risk by turning the school into an academy.

"Why change something that is working so well? The governors should listen to those they are there to represent and drop these proposals."

Objectors fear the change could lead to alterations in term times, admissions policy and the curriculum, while promises by the school's current chiefs may not be kept by future administrations.

They also say governors at the Junction Road school will not be locally accountable and there would be no council back-up to cope with unforeseen situations like emergency repairs.

Governors say if the school becomes an academy there are no plans for changes to admission criteria while term times would be set to match others in the area.

Supporters of the plan also argue by cutting its ties with the local authority, Redhill would get extra cash which would otherwise go to Dudley Council.

Stourbridge Conservative MP Margot James, who is on the school's board of governors, said: "I'm very much in favour of going to academy status, the evidence shows schools do better when they are managing their own resources.

"Just because a school is good doesn't mean to say it can't improve and I am confident governors now and in the future will make decisions in the best interests of the school."

Campaigners say many Redhill teachers are against the change and ironically the school's staff includes Paula Roe, who is president of the NASUWT, Britain's biggest teaching union.

Mrs Roe, who has previously said the coalition government only cares about privatisation and deregulation, declined to comment on the plan - because she is a teacher at Redhill.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “This whole process is now causing unnecessary turbulence and disturbance to staff, pupils and parents and proving an immense distraction at a time when all the staff want to do is focus on the job of maintaining high standards."

Redhill headteacher, Stephen Dunster, said: "We have always worked in partnership with our community and local schools and will make sure this remains the case.

"The governors are committed to preserving and further enhancing our position as an outstanding non-selective school for Stourbridge."

Redhill Schools Concern is holding a gathering at Stourbridge town clock, Market Street, on Saturday November 10 at 11am.

Campaigners are also planning to picket a governors meeting on Monday November 19, when a final decision will be made on applying for academy status.

If the application is approved by the Department for Education, Redhill would aim to convert on April 1 2013.

Comments (8)

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12:23pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Russell Eden says...

Thankfully my children will be through Redhill before this unnecessary distraction arrives. It's already a very good school, despite faults such as putting students through exams early, in a school self gratification exercise, instead of allowing them the full term to maximise the chances of earning a better grade.

I'm disappointed to see our MP supporting this.
Thankfully my children will be through Redhill before this unnecessary distraction arrives. It's already a very good school, despite faults such as putting students through exams early, in a school self gratification exercise, instead of allowing them the full term to maximise the chances of earning a better grade. I'm disappointed to see our MP supporting this. Russell Eden
  • Score: 0

10:49pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Spanish Rose says...

I think it is a really good opportunity for Redhill School and I think more money being ploughed into the school can only benefit the pupils and staff. There is always scope to do more in a school and the increased funding will really benefit our local school. It takes courage to do something new and I admire the governors for wanting to advance Redhill School even further as a place for outstanding learning. Go for it Redhill!
I think it is a really good opportunity for Redhill School and I think more money being ploughed into the school can only benefit the pupils and staff. There is always scope to do more in a school and the increased funding will really benefit our local school. It takes courage to do something new and I admire the governors for wanting to advance Redhill School even further as a place for outstanding learning. Go for it Redhill! Spanish Rose
  • Score: 0

12:31pm Fri 9 Nov 12

Les Jones says...

As a former Governor of this school for over 10 years, I am delighted to see that they are going for Academy status.

The only argument against it is an ideological one about all schools offering the same standards. Surely it should be about all schools giving the best education they can? I believe the Head, staff and Governors are better placed to do that than the Local Authority.
As a former Governor of this school for over 10 years, I am delighted to see that they are going for Academy status. The only argument against it is an ideological one about all schools offering the same standards. Surely it should be about all schools giving the best education they can? I believe the Head, staff and Governors are better placed to do that than the Local Authority. Les Jones
  • Score: 0

9:07pm Fri 9 Nov 12

paulinef says...

There will be no extra money when the school is planning to change to academy status. If there were extra money would it not be best spent on all schools and not wasted to change the status of the school.
Margot James is incorrect in stating that schools do better under academy status- some do, some stay the same and some have got worse.
This is a scheme that is being rushed through in many schools without proper consultation. How is it right that the head and governors can make this decision against the wishes of the staff, parents and wider community. Where will the checks and balances be and who will hold the academy to account without any local authority.
There will be no extra money when the school is planning to change to academy status. If there were extra money would it not be best spent on all schools and not wasted to change the status of the school. Margot James is incorrect in stating that schools do better under academy status- some do, some stay the same and some have got worse. This is a scheme that is being rushed through in many schools without proper consultation. How is it right that the head and governors can make this decision against the wishes of the staff, parents and wider community. Where will the checks and balances be and who will hold the academy to account without any local authority. paulinef
  • Score: 0

10:57am Sat 10 Nov 12

JLucas says...

Evidence shows that Academy Status does not improve school performance in many cases. Current legislation also dictates that there will little or no extra money for new academies. This is a political move being rushed through without proper consultation in the local community. Assurances given by the current school leaders that there will be no changes to term times etc. obviously cannot extend beyond the immediate future. leadership.
Evidence shows that Academy Status does not improve school performance in many cases. Current legislation also dictates that there will little or no extra money for new academies. This is a political move being rushed through without proper consultation in the local community. Assurances given by the current school leaders that there will be no changes to term times etc. obviously cannot extend beyond the immediate future. leadership. JLucas
  • Score: 0

2:35pm Sat 10 Nov 12

Jo concerned says...

Academy status does not guarantee success - an outstanding staff does. The staff are the people who make Redhill the outstanding school that it is, surely their views are of paramount importance - perhaps the Governors should be brave enough to ballot them.
Academy status does not guarantee success - an outstanding staff does. The staff are the people who make Redhill the outstanding school that it is, surely their views are of paramount importance - perhaps the Governors should be brave enough to ballot them. Jo concerned
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Sun 11 Nov 12

kandal says...

Couldn't agree more. A divide between staff and governors causes disharmony. Sounds like a recipe for disaster not success!
Couldn't agree more. A divide between staff and governors causes disharmony. Sounds like a recipe for disaster not success! kandal
  • Score: 0

8:10pm Wed 21 Nov 12

C Leslie says...

The government's academy programme is ideologically driven,they want to take away local authority control and accountability and increase the involvement of the private sector in education. It is evident that neither parents or staff at Redhill School want academy status and already consider the school to be successful. So why pursue these plans further?
The government's academy programme is ideologically driven,they want to take away local authority control and accountability and increase the involvement of the private sector in education. It is evident that neither parents or staff at Redhill School want academy status and already consider the school to be successful. So why pursue these plans further? C Leslie
  • Score: 0

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