Campaign mounted in bid to stop Stevenage school becoming an academy

The Barclay School in Stevenage. Picture: Barclay School

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

A campaign group and petition have been launched in a bid to stop a Stevenage secondary school being taken over by a multi-academy trust.

The Barclay School was rated inadequate by Ofsted following an inspection in July 2016 and 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.

However, a multi-academy trust is expected to take over the running of the school from January. Academies are publicly-funded independent schools, receiving money direct from the government and not the local county council.

Concerned parents have set up a campaign group Hands Off Barclay and started a petition in a bid to retain the school under Herts County Council’s control.

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The campaign group has acrued more than 185 members on its Facebook page and the petition on – started by Amanda Feagan on Monday – was signed by more than 170 people within the first few hours.

Amanda said: “The school has seen continuous improvement and pupils enjoy learning with enthusiastic teachers.

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“We believe the academy order should be lifted and the academisation process halted to allow the good progress to continue without distraction.

“We are concerned any change to the current direction of the leadership team and staff would be detrimental to our children’s education and their future.”

On behalf of the school, chair of governors Nicky Clarke said: “The governing body is in ongoing discussions with the Department for Education and our regional schools’ commissioner Martin Post.

“We know the current team in the school can continue to improve outcomes – a judgement backed by Ofsted in April.

“The school has been under an academy order for over two years, but has seen some of the best exam results in the school’s history without the assistance of an academy chain.

“Governors want to ensure any new sponsor will build on this success without unnecessary changes to the curriculum, school structure and systems.”

The county council is yet to respond to a request for comment.

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