SAVE LONGSHAW PRIMARY SCHOOL- STOP SILVER BIRCH ACADEMY TRUST
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- Longshaw has experienced a high staff turnover and seen changes in school leadership. Last year, only 4 classes of 14 did not experience a change in teacher. Some children have experienced as many as 7 different teachers in two years.
- Silver Birch Academy Trust has been investigated by a government agency (ESFA) for financial mismanagement and major failings were shown. The ESFA remains unsure about the leadership and management of the trust and they are not convinced that that it can turn things round. Add your voice to ours and demand that money stays inside Longshaw to benefit our children.
- Our most recent Ofsted inspections reported, “A lack of communication with parents and carers has left many feeling angry and frustrated”. The relationship is now irreparable and we demand to be rebrokered to another Trust.
We, the parents and carers of the children at Longshaw Primary Academy, have lost confidence in the Silver Birch Academy Trust and no longer consider it to be a fit organisation to manage our school. We are therefore requesting that the Regional Schools Commissioner removes them and allows us to join a different academy trust (a process known as rebrokering).
When SBAT took over Longshaw in 2014 many of us already had concerns. However we put our faith in the trust’s ability to turn our school around and achieve a minimum ‘Good’ Ofsted judgement by the time of our first inspection. Not only has SBAT failed to achieve this, but we feel that its conduct and approach over the last three years has done real damage to our school and unless they are removed we fear it will continue to compromise our children’s education.
Many of the trust’s failings have been highlighted in the recent Ofsted report, not least of which is the turnover in staff since they took over. While we understand that with any change of management there will be changes in staff, the sheer volume of teachers leaving the school, the suddenness of their departure and the lack of explanation as to the reasons, all point towards a toxic working environment. For the children, the outcome of this has been widespread instability in the staffing of their classes, with some experiencing as many as seven different teachers in two years. This school year only 4 classes out of 14 did not experience a change in teacher.
SBAT had already been investigated for financial irregularities before they took over at Longshaw, but we took their word that this was all in the past. Due to their track record in improving the first two schools they academised, some of us were also prepared to turn a blind eye to the hugely inflated salaries the senior management paid themselves. However the shocking new reports of financial mismanagement recently uncovered by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, set against the backdrop of severe budget shortage at the school, make the lavish self-enrichment of SBAT’s senior managers look nothing less than obscene.
The Department for Education would seem to agree, and has recently served the trust with an official notice to improve its financial conduct – the equivalent of special measures in Ofsted terms.
It demeans our school to be associated with an organisation like this, and we are no longer prepared to stand by while their immoral and inept behaviour risks damaging our children’s life chances. The relationship between the school community and the trust has broken down irreparably. Parents are taking their children out of the school, leaving it dangerously underfunded. If this continues the school will cease to be viable. We love our school and we want to protect it, not just for our own children but for those that will follow. We have had enough and we urge the Regional Schools Commissioner to allow us to rebroker.
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