Stop federation of Redbridge Primary School, recruit a permanent full-time Head Teacher

Stop federation of Redbridge Primary School, recruit a permanent full-time Head Teacher

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Rab M started this petition to Redbridge Primary School (Chair of the Governing Body) and

The undersigned are key stakeholders of Redbridge Primary School (“RPS”) and would like to urge the Governing Body of RPS and the Redbridge Council/LA to:

  1. Immediately initiate the process for the recruitment of a full-time permanent headteacher (“HT”); and
  2. stop the process of soft federation (with Highlands or other schools) which will lead to hard federation which in-turn will lead to academisation.

RPS had a permanent HT in Mrs Buxton up until July 2016. Since then, RPS has seen a number of temporary HT (executive HT and acting HT), which has directly corresponded to a decline in the KS2 results of the school. Clearly, not having a permanent HT is being detrimental to the students.

Not having a full time permanent headteacher is key reason for a decline in results and instability for the school and children. An extension of the arrangement with highlands to share the headteacher will compound and prolong this problem and result in further ongoing instability. Only a permanent full-time headteacher, which is every school's right, is essential to bring lasting stability.

The reason for not recruiting a permanent HT after Mrs Buxton left has never been made public by RPS Governing Body or the LA. In early 2018, the parents of RPS were promised a permanent HT as soon as possible (and by academic year 2019-20) by senior LA officials. However, RPS doesn’t seem to have advertised yet for the post of a permanent HT (despite fellow borough school, Wanstead Church, having already advertised for its HT in Nov/Dec 2018). This is making the undersigned nervous in that RPS will have another academic year (2019-20) without a permanent HT. This will exacerbate the downward trend in results and will be a poor outcome for children.

Coupled with the above, the below incidents over the last few months are making us suspect that there is an underhanded and implicit attempt to turn RPS into an academy via the back-door:

  1. Since Mrs Buxton left, the LA hasn’t advertised for a headteacher for RPS for nearly 3 years; instead, focusing on executive headteacher and promoting soft federation
  2. The “National Governance Association” mentions about ‘Federation First’. Federation First is a blueprint to slyly convert schools into academy. The model seems to be to convert a school into a soft federation (1 headteacher overseeing multiple schools with sharing of teachers), then make it a hard federation (1 headteacher, 1 governing body, 1 budget, etc). After the hard federation, the school can be easily converted into an academy because:
    a.   The hard federation helps create a business case and also softens up parents to accept academisation
    b.   Since there is only 1 governing body for multiple schools, the parent representation on the governing body will be minimal, and only 1 governing body will decide on the academisation of multiple schools.
  3. The current chair of RPS governing body in his profile declares that he has extensive experience of conversion from Community to Academy status. Another co-opted governor already is Chair of an multi-academy trust
  4. RPS is currently in a soft-federation with Highlands. Highlands Governing Body had proposed converting it into an academy and only backed-down after a public outcry from parents in Q1 2018. Is Highlands and RPS community being softened up for academisation via soft federation?

A soft federation, a hard federation and an academy has limited benefits to children’s education. The main aim of these structures is to cut costs. Given staff costs account for approximately 80% of a school’s budget, it is clear that cost cutting will lead to staff cuts as well as experienced staff not being dedicated to a single school but shared across multiple sites. Profits will become the primary objective and education will become secondary and hence the children will suffer.


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