Fears over school bid: Unions warn against becoming an academy

Trust interest: Danum School Technology College on Leger Way.
Trust interest: Danum School Technology College on Leger Way.
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UNION officials have warned of concerns over proposals to bring in an educational charity to help run another Doncaster school as an academy.

Danum School, in Intake, one of the biggest schools in the borough, could bring in the CFBT education trust in as a partner, and talks are already being held between the school and the trust.

Headteacher Dr Kelvin Simmonds said staff at the school had been informed of the move, and consultation with parents and the wider education community in Doncaster was due to start.

He said: “Like a lot of schools, we are looking at a lot of possibilities.This is a liaison that we could take further, but at the moment it is in the process of going to consultation. Stakeholders in the school have a right to an input into the process.

“The key thing is for us to find the best way forward for the school. CFBT is a charitable education trust, and linking with them is something that we are looking at seriously. We informed staff at the end of the last term.”

He believes becoming an academy with CFBT would give the school access to more resources, including specialist advanced skills teachers, and equipment like computers.

He said the trust already has an involvement in a number of schools in Lincolnshire, where he said it was like an education authority.

CFBT describes itself as a leading education consultancy and service organisation, which provides education for public benefit both in the UK and internationally.

Established 40 years ago, it has an annual turnover exceeding £100 million, and employs more than 2,500 staff worldwide who support educational reform, teach, advise, research and train. But Doncaster divisional secretary for the National Union of Teachers, John Coward, said he was concerned about the plans.

He said: “We know nothing about the background of this organisation, and these people would be responsible for the education of a large number of children. I don’t know of any reason why this school should be passed to the control of these people. The important thing is any plans are not made behind closed doors.”

Doncaster Council’s Director of the Children and Young People’s Service, Chris Pratt, said: “Academy status is an option that all schools are able to consider. Where Doncaster schools express an interest, we support them in taking this forward.”