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Village school sees off academy threat

NEU and parent-led campaign beats crazy management scheme

PLANS to turn a special education school in Brent into an academy have been rejected by the government, the National Education Union (NEU) announced today.

Government insiders told Hank Roberts, a member of the NEU’s joint executive, that the attempt to turn The Village School in Kingsbury into a multi-academy trust (MAT) will be rejected.

In a statement, Mr Roberts attacked the “monumental incompetence” of attempts to turn the school into an academy, laying the blame firmly on Kay Charles — executive head of the school — and local Labour councillor Sandra Kabir, who chairs the school governors.

Mr Roberts today accused Mr Charles and Ms Kabir of leading the drive for academisation, despite clear and “overwhelming” opposition from staff, parents and the local community.

The Department for Education (DfE) will reportedly reject the offer to turn the school into an MAT on the grounds that is not big enough, even if a proposed amalgamation with neighbouring Woodfield School goes ahead.

NEU has called for Brent Council to drop their plans for further MATs, which they say are “deeply flawed.”

They have also urged the council to publicly reiterate its call that The Village school should remain a local authority school.

Mr Roberts said: “So it is clear that it was only these two schools (the Village and Woodfield) they were consulting on.

"It would be shameful if any attempts are made to go secretly scrabbling around in an attempt to find other schools to join them, enabling them to make a different proposal without a full consultation."

The union also said it is currently scrutinising documents over alleged “financial irregularities” at one of the schools.

In January of this year over 100 staff at The Village went on strike against the plans laid out by Ms Kabir, who is a Labour whip on Brent Council.

Their demands remain the same — that Ms Kabir must halt the process of academisation while alternative models of partnership could be investigated with Brent council.

The DfE could not be reached for comment.

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