Leading Labour councillors have expressed concern after Labour’s attempts to return Stantonbury International School to local authority control were rejected by tgovernment in favour of an untested multi academy trust.
The long-running saga has seen Stantonbury school slip from “improving,” when it was turned into an academy in 2015 to now being rated as “inadequate,” with OFSTED highlighting poor results and pupil safety issues.
The current academy running the school, the Griffin Trust, has been stripped of running the school, and Labour wrote to government officials to ask that the school be returned to local authority control.
However, the government’s Regional School Commissioner, Dame Kate Dethridge has now written to MK Council saying she will recommend the Stantonbury school is taken over by yet another Multi Academy Trust with an, as yet, unproven track record of success in its secondary schools.
The Tove Learning Trust recently started running Lord Grey School in Milton Keynes and is responsible for the Elizabeth Woodville School in Northamptonshire. That school is currently rated as “Requires Improvement.” It also runs several primary schools.
Labour councillors have pledged not to give up the fight and are urging residents to back their call the return the school to the care of Milton Keynes Council.
Councillor Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “The academy system and this Conservative government are failing children and teachers in Milton Keynes on the basis of ideology.”
She continued: “Tove Learning Trust have their work cut out to work with us to improve the Lord Grey School and should be concentrating on that. We are working well with them and there are signs of progress there but Elizabeth Woodville, another Tove School, is “Requires Improvement.” Tove should be left to concentrate on improving the schools they already run. However, almost all Milton Keyes Council schools are good, outstanding or improving towards that, but our offer to run the school has not yet been successful.”
Councillor Martin Petchey, ward councillor said: “Tove have a job on their hands getting their existing schools over the line. How can Dame Kate believe they have the capacity or experience to take on this very large failing school and turn it round rapidly?”
Cllr Martin Petchey, Stantonbury ward councillor said: “The Conservatives are willing to gamble with the future of our children to push academies. I have very serious concerns about the recommendation of the Regional Schools Commissioner and will be asking local residents to support me in carrying on our fight to restore Stantonbury International to Milton Keynes Council.”