Parents take ‘uncertain’ future of Hitchin school into their own hands

Wilshere Dacre School

Wilshere Dacre School - Credit: Archant

PARENTS at a school which was placed in special measures have decided to take its future into their own hands, after becoming concerned matters weren’t moving along quickly enough.

Wilshere-Dacre Junior School in Hitchin, which was rated “inadequate” in an Ofsted inspection last October, is to become a sponsored academy, the Department for Education has ruled.

But parents at the school have said it is taking too long to identify a suitable sponsor, and have formed the Wilshere-Dacre Academy Parents Group.

They have decided to speak to sponsors themselves, with two of the seven they have approached saying they are interested in the school, and one stating it “may be”.

The group has invited the potential sponsors to a meeting later this month.

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A group spokesman said: “The parent group is concerned about the length of time it has taken to identify a suitable sponsor and the uncertainty this is causing for the school community.

“It has also expressed disappointment at the lack of consultation with parents.”

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The meeting, which will be held on August 30, will also hear from parents and stakeholders at the Fishponds Road school.

Sponsors will be invited to outline their school management credentials and talk about how they plan to move Wilshere-Dacre out of special measures.

Parent Andrea Russell said: “We are particularly keen to find a sponsor who is prepared to give parents a significant governance role, in order to support Wilshere-Dacre to become the outstanding school we know it can and should be.”

Following the meeting, the group says it will provide feedback to the Department for Education, Herts County Council – which would no longer control the school should a sponsor be appointed – and Wilshere-Dacre’s governing body.

Chris Hayward, cabinet member for education at local education authority Herts County Council, said: “Any sponsorship arrangements are between the governing body of Wilshere-Dacre school and the Department for Education. This is not something that Hertfordshire County Council would be involved in.

“We always support any schools that are put into measures by Ofsted and have a proven track record of helping these schools to improve. In the case of Wilshere-Dacre we continue to provide a good package of support to the school and clear improvements have been made. A government inspector has acknowledged these improvements during the two visits to the school which have taken place so far.”

To find out more about the group, visit

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