Questions raised after Cambridgeshire-based trust in running for ‘inadequate’ Bury St Edmunds primary school
Questions are being asked as to why a primary school, rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted last year, could be taken over by a trust from Cambridgeshire, rather than one across the road.
Howard Community Primary School has to join a trust after its ‘inadequate’ rating and the Chilford Hundred Educational Trust (CHET) has been chosen by the Department for Education (DfE) as the preferred sponsor of the Beard Road school.
But Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants, says the DfE’s decision to initially prefer the Cambridgeshire-based CHET to the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust has been met with surprise by some in the community.
The Bury All-Through Trust comprises Tollgate and Barrow primaries, Westley and Horringer middles, and County Upper School, which sits just across the road from Howard primary and is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
It has a good record with its current primaries, transforming Tollgate, rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2012 to a ‘good’ school, while the other primary it works with in Barrow is rated outstanding.
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Further, the All-Through Trust has government permission to open a new STEM academy in 2019, thereby providing more options for Howard primary students.
CHET outlined its case for sponsoring Howard primary at a meeting at the school on Monday, February 5, saying it believes it can raise standards.
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But Mr Broom organised another meeting last Friday at Newbury Community Centre on the estate as he felt people were unaware that the Bury All Through Trust was also keen to take over the school.
Mr Broom said: “Everywhere I go people ask me ‘what on earth is going on at the school?’
“Over 90 people attended the meeting and of course there are two sides to everything, but I wanted people to be able to hear what else was on offer.
“The all-through system has served this community well over the years and I’m really behind bringing the community together.”
Views can be emailed to the DfE by February 19 and will be considered by the headteachers’ board on February 22.
Final approval will then be made by the regional schools commissioner.