Prendergast withdraws Academy bid

Meredith Eddy, one of the people campaigning to prevent local schools from becoming Academies, provides an update following the protests triggered by Prendergast governors' decision to apply for Academy status. She writes:

"The Chair of Governors has withdrawn the application for Prendergast Hilly Fields because of a legal challenge to the process. The whole project has not been helped by the fact that the normal process is complicated by the different types of school involved."

Schools Week reports:

"The Government has been forced to stop the academy conversion of a school after opposition from a single staff member. It will now rewrite government regulations to close the loophole that halted the process.

"In March, The Department for Education (DfE) issued academy orders for three schools in Lewisham, following applications by the Leathersellers’ Federation which runs the schools. But Schools Week can exclusively reveal that the order for one of the schools – Prendergast School – has been rescinded after a parent challenged its legality.

"Regulations for federation schools applying to be academies state that a staff governor must vote in favour of conversion before it can go ahead."

Meredith comments:

"I think successive goverments have made things far too complicated and central government has failed to demonstrate any discernible benefits to switching - especially since Prendergast Hilly Fields has been consistently a top performing school.

"Further, while the Governors and the Executive Head have spent much time and resource on this project, they have done little to promote sharing across the Federation in other areas - that could benefit all the children - e.g. Music and Drama - where the expertise of one school (Music at Hilly Fields) could share in the facilities of another (a purpose built theatre at Ladywell)."