PARENTS have formed a protest group to campaign against a top Sheffield secondary becoming an academy.
Governors at King Ecgbert School at Dore are set to vote on the proposals on January 17, after a consultation process that began early last month.
But the new group KES PLEAS – King Ecgbert School Parents for Local Education Authority Status – says the process is rushed and consultations are undemocratic.
They are calling for a full ballot of parents at the secondary and its feeder primaries – a process which the school is under no legal obligation to follow.
Governors are said to be still undecided on the ballot issue.
But chairman of the new parents’ group Andrew James said: “We believe a decision has already in effect been made by key governing body members.
“We have learned that the governors decided in June to register an interest with the Department for Education in converting to an academy, yet it was nearly five months later that so-called consultations began.
“We should ensure there is as much time as possible for an open and democratic debate – once made, the decision is in effect irreversible.”
Headteacher Lesley Bowes said the financial advantages brought by academy status are essential as the school is facing a 25 per cent cut to its sixth form funding.
She argues the move will help maintain high academic standards and retain excellent staff.
“Our consultations have been described by one of the union convenors as a model of good practice and we have organised two meetings for parents,” Mrs Bowes said.
“We have also met with members of the wider community, such as police, GPs, local councillors, social services and local authority partners.
“Another factor to bear in mind is that our governors are democratically elected and also represent the local community.
“Our second meeting with parents will be more informal, around tables in smaller groups.”