May 22 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter
Friday, June 22, 2012
PARENTS and teachers are stepping up the fight to keep academies out of March.
PARENTS criticised a poor turnout after Neale-Wade Community College held a meeting to discuss its damning Ofsted report.
Governors and Cambridgeshire County Council officers were present at Wednesday’s meeting, which was called after government inspectors placed Fenland’s largest secondary school in special measures.
But parents, who have been rallying in support of principal Jason Wing, took to the school’s blog to express their dismay at the poor attendance.
One blog poster said: “I would like to say to all parents who didn’t have a genuine excuse not to attend the Ofsted meeting – shame on you!
“For a school this size turnout was very poor and it shows lack of interest.
“The school itself cannot be held responsible for everything and next time you have a problem with the school perhaps you should look closer to home before blaming others.
“I must admit myself to having serious concerns about putting my child through secondary education at Neale-Wade but I am pleased to say I need not have worried, the school and the majority of staff have exceeded my expectations.”
The poster added: “For the future of this school, our dedicated principal, the community of March and our children get with the programme before it’s too late and start supporting your school.”
The Keep March Academy Free campaign launched as schools across Fenland continued to break away from local authority control.
Schools such as Thomas Clarkson Community College, in Wisbech, have already joined up with private sponsors and started receiving their funding directly from central government.
But academies are yet to arrive in March - and Labour activist Martin Field is insistent that it should stay that way.
He said: “One of the worst things about it is that it’s largely happening without people being aware of what it means.
“This is the government giving away our schools to be run by private companies. This is privatisation. They will become a business, no longer a public service but a business.
“Businesses make money. Unfortunately, as teachers and parents, we want schools to do more than make profit.”
Campaign leaflets are set to go out this weekend and a meeting will be held at Neale-Wade Community College, in March, next Saturday (June 30) at 1.30pm.
Among the speakers will be Alasdair Smith, secretary of the Anti Academies Alliance, and Peter Smith, from Downham Market, who resigned as a governor when his school chose to become an academy.
“I really think that this is the most important issue facing March at the moment,” said Mr Field, who has called for the town to turn out in force for the meeting.
“We talk about supermarkets and things like that but this is something that will effect everybody in the town and at the moment people don’t know about it.”
Mr Field, who teaches at Neale-Wade, campaigned against the secondary school becoming an academy last year.
He now admits that the hundreds of petition signatures he collected will be redundant as, after Ofsted placed the school in special measures, it may be “forced” to become an academy.