Schools consultation nears end

Protests against the MAT outside Bridgetown Primary School last month.

Time is fast running out for parents to have their say on divisive plans from four Stratford schools to form a multi-academy trust (MAT).

In January Stratford School, The Bishopton Primary School, Thomas Jolyffe Primary School and Bridgetown Primary School announced their intention to break away from local authority control and form their own MAT.

The schools argue that this will provide better opportunities for pupils by allowing them to share skills and resources.

However some parents have spoken out against the proposal saying the schools have not provided evidence to show the benefits being part of a MAT would bring.

Some go even further questioning whether funding would be distributed fairly between the schools in such an arrangement whilst pointing to a lack of evidence to suggest that becoming a MAT will raise standards.

In February those against the proposal protested outside two of the schools involved, distributing leaflets which they say were intended to provide parents with the facts behind MATs.

Last week a final consultation meeting was held at which parents could ask further questions about the MAT.

41 people attended the event, though adverse weather conditions may have affected the turnout.

Emma Bradley, a parent of Bridgetown Primary School and opponent of the MAT, said: “To me, the final consultation was unsatisfactory as they have failed to engage with the hundreds of families and staff affected across the 4 schools given such a poor turnout at the final public meeting.

“No new fact-based evidence was provided to support unsubstantiated claims about the benefits to the three primary schools of entering this formal private business structure.

“The final decision will not be made until the governors at each school take a final vote after the findings of the Due Diligence process is reported back to them so there is still time for parents and staff to raise concerns or take action if they feel they want to do so.”

A public consultation into the schools’ plans is set to end this Friday (tomorrow).

*The Willows Primary School is not one of the schools involved in the proposed multi-academy trust as was stated in today’s Herald.