Please don’t turn our school into an academy

Dear Solent Academies Trust, we are writing to express our deepest concerns regarding the academisation of Littlegreen Special School, Compton, West Sussex.

Due to an inadequate Ofsted grading in November 2017, the school had a directed academy order placed on it.

We vehemently oppose this academisation.

There are exceptional circumstances surrounding Littlegreen School and these circumstances need to be considered.

They must be taken into account, the academy order should be revoked and the school left under the care of the local authority.

The current headteacher had only been in post eight weeks when Ofsted graded the school inadequate and had already alerted the local authority to her concerns and taken appropriate action.

The pupils of Littlegreen have dealt with a lot of upheaval and disruption during the necessary changes that were put in place by the new head.

Due to their varying needs, pupils do not cope well with any kind of change.

The school has come through a successful process of rapid and necessary change.

Now they have adjusted and bonded with their head it will be detrimental to their wellbeing expecting them to cope with further change due to the academisation, which will almost certainly see changes in leadership, management and new routines.

During a recent Section 8 monitoring inspection Ofsted found that vast improvements had been made which are evidenced in the report.

‘…Leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of the serious weaknesses designation’

‘…The school’s improvement plan is fit for purpose’

Ofsted also found that pupils feel safer now:

‘…Because of this new Headteacher thing, it is really improving’

This further reinforces our opinion that the school does not need to become part of a Multi Academy Trust business.

It is not in the best interests of the pupils emotionally, combined with the financial implications that becoming part of a MAT will bring.

All West Sussex children are currently seriously underfunded and SEN budgets are eroding.

The MAT will then take five per cent of every child’s funding for their business needs, how is that acceptable?

We are concerned about the way this particular conversion has taken place. Your executive headteacher Mrs Alison Beane currently sits on Littlegreen’s IEB (Interim Executive Board).

This raises concerns regarding a conflict of interests. Mrs Beane as well as being the trust’s executive headteacher is also accounts officer, director and CEO, this demonstrates a definite conflict of interests.

Mrs Beane sits on the Regional Schools Commissioner’s headteachers board.

The HTB meets monthly to discuss schools that are converting to academy status.

Minutes of these meetings are posted online.

We are seriously concerned that no public minutes regarding any decisions regarding Littlegreen school have been posted, therefore we question whether any formal, minuted meetings took place.

We have challenged the RSC on this and have been told that minutes will be sorted and posted online by the end of the month.

However, minutes for all RSC meetings during the conversion process have already been published. Is this lawful?

The perception of the lack of transparency is truly alarming. The trust has received a £90,000 sponsorship grant from the RSC, when we asked the RSC what this money is being used for they were unable to answer our question. It is vital that something is done urgently to stop this academisation and stop Littlegreen boys suffering unnecessarily.

In writing this, we hope to gain support from the wider community to enable us to keep this unique school under the care of the Local Authority.

We urge you to reconsider your interest in Littlegreen school becoming part of Solent Academies Trust

Yours sincerely

Hayley Rose (parent), Chalcraft Lane, Bognor Regis

Tracey Edwards (parent)

Janine Young (parent)

Rachel Burton (parent)

Sylvia Mundy (supporter)

Nova Harris (supporter)