Petition to stop Stevenage school becoming an academy secures 750 signatures

The Barclay School in Stevenage. Picture: Barclay School

The Barclay School in Stevenage. Picture: Barclay School - Credit: Archant

A petition to try to stop a Stevenage secondary school being taken over by a multi-academy trust has so far been signed by more than 750 people.

The Barclay School was rated inadequate by Ofsted following an inspection in July 2016, placed in special measures and put under an academy order by the Department for Education.

A new headteacher and senior leadership team was appointed in March 2017 and an Ofsted inspection this April found the school had made significant improvement and progressed to requires improvement, with elements of good.

A multi-academy trust is expected to take over the running of the school from January, but there is widespread concern about the plans.

Many parents are concerned any change to the current set-up could have a detrimental impact on their children’s education.

At the time of going to press, 769 people had signed a petition on asking for the academy order to be lifted and for the school to be retained under Herts County Council’s control.

More than 230 people are also members of the campaign group Hands Off Barclay on Facebook.

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Academies are publicly-funded independent schools, receiving money direct from the government and not the local county council. They are run by an academy trust which employs the staff, and they do not have to follow the national curriculum.

Parent Amanda Feagan, who started the petition, said: “I’m absolutely delighted so many people are supporting the school.

“We are concerned the academy might get rid of the leadership team, change the curriculum, or give funding meant for Barlcay to other schools within the trust.

“The new teachers that were brought in, their passion has rubbed off on our children. They are happy to go to school and exam results have improved.

“Turning the school into an academy is making it private. I didn’t chose this - I sent my children to a state school, but it has been taken out of my hands.”

A county council spokesman said: “We are aware of the campaign and that parents are unhappy. The decision about academy sponsors is not a decision in which the local authority was involved.”

Barclay says its governing body is in discussions with the Department for Education and regional schools’ commissioner.

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