Opposing academy

Aston Comprehensive achieved an Ofsted grade of outstanding after a one day inspection in November. This is a jump of two grades which is clearly an achievement and I am proud to teach there.

Shortly afterward, in December 2010, John Barton (chair of governors), announced the decision to start the consultation process to convert to an academy.

Many members of staff have grave concerns over the speed this process has proceeded. Parents have had insufficient time to consider the full affect that becoming an academy would have on school and community. It is being rushed though and parents have not had the opportunity to investigate both sides of the argument.

There is strong opposition to the conversion to an academy by the vast majority of staff. On January 6 a joint union meeting was called and a resolution passed to oppose the conversion.

On December 8, 2010 a letter was sent inviting parents to attend a public meeting on December 13, giving them only one week's notice. Parents were supplied with a booklet explaining what academy status would mean. However it is highly biased in favour of academies and only gives one side of the argument. This is also true of the meeting that took place.

Parents were asked for written feedback, with a deadline of January 7. This is clearly too short a period for parents to consider the situation, particularly when it fell over a major public holiday. Parents have enough on their minds at Christmas!

After pressure, the deadline was extended a week. But this wasn't published.

Letters inviting parents to the meeting and booklets were given to students to take home rather than being mailed. Did all letters make it to the intended recipients?

Parents must be given the opportunity to investigate the argument against Aston Comprehensive becoming an academy in order to form their own opinions. At present some Rotherham schools are in the process of conversion, surely it would be prudent for us to hold off our conversion while we see how this effects them.

Concerned teacher

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