Politicians in plea to Sheffield primary school to not convert into an academy

Politicians are 'uneasy' and 'extremely distressed' over plans to convert a Sheffield primary into an academy.
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Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh and local councillors Jack Scott, Julie Dore and Ben Miskell have written to the headteacher and chair of governors at Norfolk Community Primary, in Arbourthorne, about their concerns at plans for the school to voluntary convert to an academy.

They are calling for an urgent meeting with school leaders to discuss their concerns and urge the school to remain under Sheffield Council control and a 'family approach to education.'

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In the letter, which has been made public, they said: "We deeply, genuinely and wholeheartedly ask that you reconsider this voluntary academisation."

School leaders said they 'want the very best education' for its children and is currently consulting on the plans.

Their concerns include the possible changes to its curriculum, admissions framework and special educational needs provision, lack of consultation with staff and parents and possibility of the school becoming isolated and its interests not protected.

The politicians also claim that parents do not 'have any desire for this kind of change'.

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The letter added: "We believe the school's focus should be on creating exciting learning, meaningfully engaging parents and building strong community partnerships.

"It is our view that voluntary academisation is a distraction from these goals and leads to an unnecessary obsession with school structures."

The letter goes on to say that it is 'disappointing' that as locally elected representatives they were not informed about the decision, and learnt about it second hand, by which time the process had significantly progressed.

Pam Gibson, chairman of Norfolk Community Primary School governors, said: “Norfolk Community Primary School is currently consulting on plans to join Sheffield South East Trust and have been communicating to staff and families about this.

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“We want the very best education for our children and have plans to secure school leadership and raise achievement, so that our pupils do the best they can.

"We are committed to maintaining a happy and motivated school and will meet with members of the community to further discuss this opportunity.”