Parents at Hitchin special measures school take sponsor plans to new level

Wilshere-Dacre Junior School in Hitchin was placed in special measures last year

Wilshere-Dacre Junior School in Hitchin was placed in special measures last year - Credit: Archant

PARENTS who voiced concerns over lack of action at their children’s school have taken matters into their own hands by approaching a Government department with their independent plans.

Wilshere-Dacre Junior School in Hitchin is required under current legislation to become a sponsored academy, after being placed in special measures last year by Ofsted.

But parents at the school said the process wasn’t being completed quick enough, so decided to pursue the options themselves.

Last week, they met with two potential sponsors – NET Academies Trust and Educate Together – and will today (Tuesday) submit a report with feedback to the Department for Education, Herts County Council and the school’s governing body.

One parent, Andrea Russell, said: “Our objective was to demonstrate that parents want and deserve to be involved in decisions affecting the future of the school, and that the school’s governing body has a range of high quality options available to it.

“We hope that governors, the local authority and the Department for Education will now take parents’ views into account and actively involve them in the process of selecting a sponsor.

“We were delighted that so many parents wanted to hear about the exciting alternative visions offered by NET and Educate Together. The overwhelming view of those who attended the meeting was that either of these sponsors would provide excellent support and development.”

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The meeting followed a letter to parents, from the governing body, which was sent out last week.

It says it has found its own sponsor, REAch2 Academy Trust, which it wishes to work with.

The letter adds: “Whilst we welcome contributions from all parents and will look into and consider without bias all suggestions made by parents, we must emphasise it is crucial that we thoroughly research each sponsor and as an elected body we carry out our duties with due diligence in both research and debate within the elected governing body.

“We take this responsibility very seriously indeed and as such we need to be as certain as we can be of the future benefits that sponsor can bring to the school before we put forward a recommendation to the DfE. Suggestions of other potential sponsors from outside the governing body will therefore be carefully considered as part of our contingency plans.”

The DfE will make an ultimate decision.

Parent Adam Nichols, who has been involved in the group’s bid, said: “We’re not trying to undermine the role of the governing body.

“We would just like parents to have some influence.”

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