Controversial plans to merge eight Bradford schools move a step closer (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Controversial plans to merge eight Bradford schools move a step closer
Controversial plans to merge the running of eight primary schools have moved a step closer.
Eight Bradford schools hope to come together to form a trust, called the Bradford Co-operative Learning Trust.
Heaton St Barnabas Primary would also become involved in the trust. It would join as a partner school because, as a Church of England school, it is unable to join as a full member.
The schools, which would still be under the control of Bradford Council, would each select two governors to sit on the trust’s board to make decisions about the running of the schools, with Heaton St Barnabus having one board member.
But the plan has angered some parents, who said the changes were being rushed through. The governing bodies made the decision to go ahead with the plan at a private meeting held at Bradford Council’s Future House offices. The schools will now publish a statutory notice that they are intending to form the trust and there will be a public consultation.
Nicola Roth, a spokesman for the proposed Bradford Co-operative Learning Trust, said: “We are delighted with the decision of the governing bodies.
“We will now be placing the statutory notices and look forward to the completion of the process and the final outcome.”
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member of children’s services, added: “The plan that has been forwarded is one we are fully supportive of. It is a partnership where the local authority has a role, but schools are taking far greater control as a group. It is about further improvement, and raising standards and involvement of parents.”
Councillor Roger L’Amie, the Conservative group’s education spokesman who sits on the education appeals panel, said: “I think I am in favour of co-operation between schools. I am certainly in favour of any new thinking that can be brought in to the Bradford education system.
“I think schools working together where they share best practice should be expected to be beneficial to children.”
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Council’s Liberal Democrat group, said: “The one thing that is true in all the schools is that it is not the structures that make the difference. I have never seen the evidence that new structures help children. The one thing that improves children is the quality of the teaching and the leadership.”
But not all parents of pupils at the schools support the plan.
One of them, Shazad Hussain, whose three children go to Green Lane Primary, said he believed the co-operative was being rushed through and that there had been a lack of consultation.
Mr Hussain said: “We are worried for our children’s futures. We only want our children to have a good education – is there something wrong with that?
“We just want to speak to the governors to find out what is going on. It is absolutely unacceptable the way they are behaving. There’s no accountability, no transparency. The whole process is shambolic. We are concerned parents. Is there something wrong with asking governors what is going on?”