We met with the head, chair of governors and the business manager at GHS yesterday to discuss the proposal that the school become an academy.
It is clear that, from their perspective, there are potential benefits to the move. The school has been chronically underfunded for years, (they wouldn't be alone in that and they can hardly be held to blame for that). Indeed, the level of frustration that many schools must feel about this is entirely understandable. The funding regime is complex and it is difficult to establish yet, what the per capita benefit to GHS would be following conversion as the data is not yet available. However, with the ability to retain the top sliced component of their funding and the control they would have to economically source services and structure the curriculum in the most efficient way possible, I have no reason to doubt their confidence that significant savings can be made to the benefit of the school.
However, they know as much as we do, (read, very little), about what is coming down the pipeline from central government as they are subject to the whim of whatever administration happens to be in power at the time. Essentially, when, and if,. Michael Gove, the current Education Secretary, gets his way and all or most schools have become academies, all you have done is swap one schools management system for another and the pie that feeds them all is not likely to get bigger anytime soon. When the next administration comes along, they will doubtless be subject to another tedious bout of goalpost moving and burial under another mountain of 'initiatives'.
One thing is clear. If you want to get fully informed in this debate, you will have to make the effort yourself. It was made clear to us that no meetings would be organised by the school for parents, either to receive a presentation of the pros and cons, or to meet together to discuss and debate the issues. If parents wish to discuss any concerns they may have in greater detail, they should contact the school directly to make an appointment.
The school feels that it is meeting the Department for Education guidlines with respect to consultation with parents and, although we recognise that they are free to do this, we expressed our viewpoint that this does not amount to meaningful consultation.
We take the view that it is impossible, on any reasonable measure, to consider that the information provided by the school to parents is sufficient or adequately detailed enough to enable parents, at this point, to arrive at a reasoned and considered conclusion on this important decision for the school
Further issues arising from the meeting will be dealt with at a later date.