Following a devastating report from Ofsted, the Cabinet member responsible for Children and Families has called for Stantonbury International School to be returned to local authority control and called the Conservative academy programme a complete failure when it comes to improving school standards.
Cllr Zoe Nolan has said that the recent “inadequate” Ofsted inspection result at Stantonbury shows that the school becoming an academy, run by an out of town chain Griffin School’s Trust, has not done anything to improve standards.
While the vast majority of MK Council community schools are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, a number of academies remain ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.
Stantonbury International become an Academy in 2016 despite at the time showing signs of improvement. The decision cost local taxpayers over £700,000, as well as transferring all the school’s assets, to a private enterprise. Since then the school has fallen into its current “inadequate” rating.
Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “For Stantonbury International to become an academy was wrong, and the Conservative zeal to make schools become academies is a failure. There is no meaningful accountability, no local ability to change things and a remote chain who are detached from our community. The school should be returned to Milton Keynes Council, as should all failing schools.”
She continued: “The majority of MK Council schools are good or outstanding. We work with head teachers and governing bodies and share experience and successful leadership. There is very clear evidence that academisation does not improve schools. Good leadership improves schools and as a local authority we have the support networks to do that. Remote chains that have no links to our area have repeatedly shown they do not improve our schools.”
She concluded: “The Conservative Government have an ideological problem with councils running schools even when the evidence shows we do a better job than academy chains. They force inadequate schools to become academies but if academisation doesn’t work there’s no way back. Why should the local authority not take over control? We are ready to take Stantonbury International back and do what we do best, help the school become good or outstanding, and fulfil our ambition to give every local child a place in a good school.”