Parents oppose plans to force Bradford primary school to become an academy (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Parents fight academy plans for Springwood Community Primary School, Manningham
Updated 11:28am Monday 14th July 2014 in News
Parents of pupils at Springwood Community Primary School who are opposing plans to turn it into an academy. Far left, Ian Murch of the NUT and (left) Nick Weller, of Dixons
A Bradford primary school will likely be forced to become an academy by the Government, despite opposition from parents.
Springwood Community Primary School on Wood Street, Manningham, was put into special measures after Ofsted inspectors visited in December, and concluded: "The majority of pupils leave the school without the skills needed to succeed at secondary school."
Now, as part of a Department for Education policy, the school is set to be removed from Council control and turned into a self-governed academy because of its failings.
The Dixons Academy chain, which has several schools in Bradford, has announced it wants to take over the running of the school.
However a parents' group has vowed to fight the forced academisation, and say the school is already on the road to improvement. Terri Leighton took over as headteacher shortly after the inspection, along with an Interim Executive Board chosen by Bradford Council and the DfE.
When Ofsted inspectors carried out a follow up visit in April, they said: "The headteacher has made a very prompt start on addressing the school’s key priorities. She is tackling weaknesses robustly. Significant improvements have been made to the learning environment."
The parents' group believes she should be given more time to turn the school's fortunes around.
Majid Tabassum said: "The school is clearly making progress, we don't understand why the school is being forced to become an academy and what advantage it can have over what is happening already. I don't know what extra they can offer. Once a school becomes an academy it can't come back out."
He believes that they have "every chance" of getting the academy plans thrown out, and the group plans to meet with Bradford Council next week.
Nick Weller, executive principal of the Dixons chain, said they would start a consultation with parents about taking on the school at the start of the next school year. He pointed out that the chain had successfully take over the failing Bradford Moor Primary School, now Dixons Marchbank.
He said: "The Dixons Academies' focus is on improving standards and giving the children of Bradford a better education. The results from Dixons Marchbank have improved markedly across the all key stages in one year. We would like to be given the opportunity to do the same for the children of Springwood."
A meeting was held with parents on Thursday morning to discuss the changes. Bradford spokesman for the National Union of Teachers Ian Murch and local councillor Istiaq Ahmed had attempted to attend, but were prevented from doing so, being told it was for parents only. Cllr Ahmed said he was "flabbergasted" when he was not allowed in, adding: "The suspicion is a decision has already been made."
A DfE spokesman said: "We have consistently demonstrated that where we find failure we will not hesitate to take action. We believe that Academy status led by a strong sponsor is the best way of providing quick and sustainable improvement – with sponsored academies improving far faster than Council-run schools.”