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Prendergast schools - plans to make it an academy
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ForestHill Mum

Posts: 30
Joined: Jan 2012
Post: #1
22-02-2023 05:43 PM

URGENT- Calling all Prendergast parents (of all 3 schools) , caregivers, teachers, governors & local councillors etc

Pls share the following message which includes the letter below I wrote along with some other Year 8- PlS parents (which you can personalise/amend where necessary) to be emailed to the Head of your Prendergast school for his/her attention. Kindly spread this to WhatsApp groups & via social media. And pls ALSO sign this petition:-


Dear (insert- your Headteacher)

As a year (——Add in relevant year) parent, we have utmost respect for your school and its leadership, as do the other parents - copied in, who share my concerns with the news Leathersellers federation may turn into an Multi Academy Trust (MAT).

We selected your school because of the strong leadership and vision, the proven track record of Prendergast Hillyfields and the not inconsequential fact that two failing local schools had been turned around in such a short time (Prendergast Ladywell and Prendergast Vale) into excellent local schools that represent our local community. Other parents have selected your school because of the exceptional level of SEN support at PLS which has helped children with different needs thrive.

For instance we remember Mr Hand of PLS explicitly saying that academisation wasn't on the table some years ago and that you wanted to be a proper local community school serving the local population / needs - so not part of an overriding MAT.

More specifically, Mr Hand said on multiple occasions that your vision for PLS was for a genuinely excellent community school,
"not just an 'Ofsted excellent' school."
The concern is that a MAT will be more concerned with appeasing / pleasing Ofsted at all costs.

Having listened to the pros of becoming an academy, we don't feel there is true transparency in the consultation, as it doesn't share the well known cons, that are causing concern and worryingly have not been acknowledged in the literature/videos we have thus far been presented with.

For those parents whose child were at Prendergast Vale (or other Prendergast school) 7 years ago, they already went through this whole process then. The result from parents, staff and pupils was a resounding NO to academisation and as a result the schools remained in their current status. No reference to this has been made.

From our understanding, there is no reason why being in a MAT would give better access to collaboration, as is implied in the material circulated as part of the consultation. The consultation also states that staff’s pay, conditions, etc would remain the same but that is only guaranteed post formation of MAT, not for the future. Forming a MAT is an irreversible change which sacrifices all types of regulation. Whilst there is currently strong and supportive leadership in the school, should you sadly leave at some juncture, this may not always be the case because forming a MAT could mean the school is lead off on the whim of future leader including changing staff’s rights, poorer conditions for our children and so on.

Many parents will be attending the parents meetings to oppose this move. We know of many local schools that have become academies, who have suffered from corruption, for example senior managers paying themselves more money whilst regular teachers receive less.

Regarding the management of so called 'troubled' children, this saw permanent exclusions soar initially when they became Harris Academies. It was alarming to profesionals working with the most vulnerable children and young people at the time as the governor structure meant it was virtually impossible to appeal these decisions regardless of what the policies said!

We know of a teacher who was once deputy head of a very well known academy in Peckham who resigned as she explained to us how students were nolonger being treated as individuals. Conversely, it had become an exam factory purely focused on achieving excellent results at any cost. Therefore, the level of education because very one-dimensional and uninspiring for its pupils. This is opposite of the vision we believed Prendergast Ladywell had.

Could you kindly clarify where you stand on this move and who is driving this??

Many thanks.

Kind regards

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