What can I do?

  • messageYou can subscribe to the Love Darell newsletter.
  • You can (for now) tell elected people about what is happening
  • You can talk to staff and open up the conversation.
  • You can discuss Darell’s future at Mumsnet’s Richmond Borough Schools group.
  • Once the consultation is underway (from Monday 21st November), you can write to the Darell governors, to express your views or objections and to ask further questions.
  • You can come to meetings: at 7pm Mon 14 Nov and 9am Tue 15 Nov, Maggie Bailey, Director of “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust” will take questions at Darell about whether her organisation is suitable for Darell’s future.

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CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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How real is the “consultation”?

The goverpaper_tape_table_dispenser-01ning body does not want to ask staff or parents/carers to vote on whether this is a good idea for Darell.

Teaching staff at Grey Court school in Ham, which is part of “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust” have been told that Darell will definitely be taken over by the same organisation.

Darell’s chair of governors has been invited to join the trustees of “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust”.  She is also a trustee of ‘Achieving for Children’ (the company that runs Children’s Services and Education Support in the boroughs of Richmond upon Thames and Kingston).

"how it will improve your child's education" - a very one-sided poster!
“how it will improve your child’s education” – a very one-sided poster!

Members of the “consultation group” — which is supposed to find out whether everyone else involved with Darell thinks that handing the school to “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust” would be a good idea for the school — have said that they are worried that the “consultation” is really advertising for “Every Child Every Day”. [Update Fri 11 Nov: three of the parents have now resigned from the consultation group.]

Darell’s governing body has not agreed any level of concern from teachers, support staff, parents and carers which would stop Darell being transferred to the Ham trust.

During the summer holidays, the governing body applied to the government to hand over control of the school. They are supposed to take part in a genuine conversation before making a decision.

The National Governors’ Association is of the view that consultation should take place at an early stage of the
 process before governing bodies have applied for academy status, and that no
 governing body should submit an application to the DfE unless and until they have 
consulted their key stakeholders (parents, pupils, staff, local authorities, or other local
 schools). Conversion to academy status is a significant step; it means moving
 accountability away from the local authority to the Secretary of State and potentially 
fundamentally changing the structure of the governing body. A decision on such a 
step should not be done without considering the views of those likely to be affected.”

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CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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Would Darell become a private school?

files-1614223_640In the short term, the official answer is that Darell would be under the control of an educational charity, rather than of locally elected people.

In the long term, the “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust” could very easily become part of a private company which would decide how Darell is run and which children and staff are allowed to be at the school.

If Darell hands control of the school to an academy trust, there would be no going back. We would just have to wait and see what was decided for us…

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CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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Would Darell be a local school?

a_long_long_wayAt the moment, Darell is free to make relationships with other local primary schools, nearby institutions and the secondary schools that are easy to get to for people who live in the area.

But schools which are taken over by academies are legally tied to the other primary and secondary schools (in this case, in Surbiton and Ham) which have been bought by the academy.

Staff and children could be moved around, depending on what the people running the academy might think is best for the academy.

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CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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What are the alternatives?

blossSome schools are part of “federations”. There are different kinds of “academies”. There are many other options for the future of Darell.

Of the other local primary schools, most have decided not to hand over control to academies. 

Many schools prefer to keep a link to locally elected people. That way, staff and parents can vote in council elections to have a say in how schools are run. (Academies do not answer to local people in this way.)

The governing body has not offered any alternatives to “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust”.

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CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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How would Darell change?

80fca6dfa007f8335191c95dfaa46c78If it was handed over to “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust”, Darell would no longer exist as a separate legal entity.

The “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust” could…

  • change Darell’s name
  • insist on a different uniform
  • move children to different schools
  • move staff to different schools
  • completely change the way Darell is run

…and more, without asking staff, parents or the governing body.

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CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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What do the teachers and support staff think?

love_my_teacherNo-one knows.

Darell’s governing body is obliged to consult staff. But they do not want to ballot them, or ask them if they think this is good for our school.

There is currently a vacancy for an elected staff governor on the governing body.  Some key members of staff were on maternity leave/sick leave when the decision was made.

In theory, staff can make an appointment to tell the headteacher that they are worried. But when other schools have been forcibly handed over to academies, staff have been scared that they will lose their jobs if they raise concerns. (If Darell is handed over, staff would be employed by “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust” in Ham and could be sacked or moved to other schools.)

No member of staff that Love Darell has spoken to has said that he or she has been asked about the transfer of the school.

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CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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Who is the governing body trying to hand Darell to?

love_loveThe organisation is called “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust”.

No-one knows very much about them.

They do not have a website, or an email address. At the moment, they control two secondary schools: Grey Court (three miles away, in Ham) and Hollyfield (six miles away, in Surbiton, which was forced to join the “Academy Trust”).

“Every Child Every Day Academy Trust” is legally obliged to register with Companies House. Their official entry does not reveal much. It does say that 16 of its directors resigned in September 2016.

eced_resignations

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The plan to give away control of Darell school

still_darellThere is a proposal to hand Darell Primary & Nursery School over to an organisation called “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust”.

Who is planning this?

Not the staff. Not the parents.

There is a “working group” in Darell’s governing body. They met with a “Multi-Academy Trust” based in Surbiton and Ham.

In June 2016, at a meeting without our trusted teaching and support staff being involved, the governing body voted to hand control of Darell over to the “Every Child Every Day Academy Trust”.

Who did they talk to?

The governing body is supposed to consult staff, parents, carers, the local community, and other people who care about Darell. [Update: read why four parents resigned from the consultation group.] 

But they applied to give Darell to the trust before consulting anyone…

Read more:

CONTACT OTHER CONCERNED MEMBERS OF THE DARELL FAMILY: lovedarellschool@gmail.com

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