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.
The governing 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).
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.
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.”
In 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…
Some 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”.
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.
The 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”).