The arguments for and against Darell being run by ECEDAT

Based on this week’s meetings about whether Darell should be taken from public accountability and handed to the Every Child Every Day Academy Trust, here’s a summary of the pros and cons:

The case for handing control to ECEDAT The case for any alternative
Money All schools currently face financial challenges and need to share resources; ECEDAT would share Darell’s resources with those of secondary schools… not yet pursued: sharing resources with other primaries
Acknowledgement that schools which have been Academized don’t actually get any extra funding… not investigated: like-with-like financial comparison with any alternative futures
Darell’s identity Acknowledgement that Darell’s social mix is among the so-far identified risks of the school being run by ECEDAT… …but it might be OK, it might be worth that risk
Results A hope that the brand value of being Academized might make Darell a first choice for more of a certain kind of parent…
A strong insistence that, especially at Darell, results are not the only measure of success… …no mention of ECEDAT’s philosophy, as stated at the meeting at Darell, that ‘results aren’t everything — except of course, actually they really are’
Acknowledgement that Academies tend to improve results only for a brief period…  …
Teaching and learning Acknowledgement that this year’s External Teaching & Learning Review identified Darell’s good teaching, but also saw some areas for improvement; ECEDAT definitely believes in improvement… …other schools’ feelings for or against improvement: not discussed
National Governors Association advice to federate first, avoid massive costs and disruption and then consider Academization based on hard evidence Federation is impossible — or more specifically, it is not legally possible with certain individual church schools which are not legally able to federate with us (based on a PowerPoint slide presented as ‘surprise extra behind-the-scenes material’ at both meetings); of the eg non-church schools, there have been no equivalent ‘consultants’ or meetings… …nothing about formal approaches from governing body to appropriate local schools; only some anecdotes about encounters at meetings designed to encourage Academization, backed by proponents of Academization
Responsiveness / accountability Future ‘policies and procedures’ would be determined by ECEDAT; details on which parts of governance Darell would have a say on, and which would be decided by ECEDAT will not be considered until the end of the consultation process… …a worry expressed that federation with other local primaries might rely on ‘goodwill’ rather than Darell having a say
ECEDAT control would make Darell seriously address ‘structure and the framework for leadership’… …apparently impossible to do ourselves
ECEDAT does not currently ‘plan to grow beyond a certain size’… not addressed: the power retained by federation schools over whether to continue expanding
‘Once Darell becomes Outstanding, which should happen in two years, its staff will be used to help other primary schools’…  …
Politics and our school Academization is ‘the direction of travel the current government wants to see’…  …
Parent and staff input Anything other than enthusiasm about ECEDAT explained as ‘initial fears of change’… not discussed: any changes other than Academization
Pros and cons of becoming part of an Academy of secondary schools After-school clubs from Sixth Formers…
Disruption Acknowledgement that disruption to day-to-day life is among the risks… not considered: getting settled before making a big decision
In a big organisation, more teachers would have the opportunity to move out of the classroom…
Fear Factor If Darell doesn’t rush into a decision, it will get a horrendous Ofsted, results will plummet to -1,000 and the government will force a sale to one of those evil ‘chain academies’ (probably, for some reason, the hated Harris), and Darell’s children will collapse weeping in a harrowing playground of perpetual doom [paraphrase]… …just be very afraid

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One thought on “The arguments for and against Darell being run by ECEDAT”

  1. Have your school run by an organisation set up in Sept 2016 which has no control over most of the resources needed to manage an education programme
    Have your school run by one of the very best local authority providers of primary education in the country with all the resources and experience already in place.

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