King's Stanley Primary School campaigners win support of district council
A GROUP set up to fight an attempt to convert King's Stanley Primary School into an academy has won the unanimous support of councillors at Stroud District Council.
Save King's Stanley action group presented a petition containing 1,100 signatures to the authority last night calling for a debate to protect the school from being forced by the government into becoming an academy.
The petition's submission comes after King's Stanley was placed into special measures following a critical Ofsted report in May, which rated the school 'inadequate' only four years after it was judged to be 'outstanding.'
It has led to accusations that the inspection, carried out by private contractor Tribal, was politically motivated and designed to coerce the school into applying for academy status.
At a meeting of full council on Thursday, October 10, councillors agreed to write a letter to the Secretary of State for Education requesting a review of the process of the Ofsted inspection and the possible conflict of interest by the company that carried out the inspection.
Speaking to councillors on Thursday night, SKS chairman Alan Bladon, who has two children at the school, said: "King's Stanley is an excellent community school run by dedicated governors, teachers and staff with a very active and supportive community.
"The inspection was biased and fundamentally flawed. In short it was a shambles.
"Immediately after the Ofsted report a so-called academy broker from the Department of Education was assigned to try and convert the school.
"We are not a failing school and we do not want to be forced to become an academy.
"Forcing a school to convert goes against all the principles of localism and community decision making.
"We know what is right for our children, we know what is right for our school and we know what is right for our community."
Councillors from across the political parties voiced their concerns about the process of the Ofsted inspection and the motion to write to the Secretary of State was put forward by cllr Martin Whiteside (Green, Thrupp) was voted for unanimously.
Cllr Steve Lydon (Lab, The Stanleys) said: "This is a big issue and we should support the school.
"These back handed measures to push these measures through is something we should all condemn."
Cllr Nigel Studdert-Kennedy (Con, The Stanleys) added: "There is a huge question mark about how this inspection was conducted and it should be reviewed."
An Ofsted spokesperson has previously told the SNJ that the watchdog is ‘independent' and not concerned with 'furthering any political agenda’.
"Our overall objective is to ensure that all children, regardless of the postcode they come from and regardless of whether they attend an academy, free school or maintained school, have access to a good quality education," they said.
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