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Parents launch fight over academy bid fears at Stafford school

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: February 06, 2014

By Sarah Marshall

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SCHOOL staff and governors are set to vote today on whether to turn a Stafford school – currently in special measures - into an academy after being given an ultimatum by education bosses.

A meeting will be held on the future of the Grove Primary School and Nursery Unit in Highfields, which has been in special measures for over a year.

Letters were sent to parents last week saying the education authority had issued an ultimatum that the school should become an academy or it would use powers to remove the governing body and replace them with an interim executive board.

But worried parents have launched a Facebook campaign in a last-ditch attempt to save the school from status change amid fears standards will drop if goes ahead.

The school was put into special measures following a damning Ofsted report in October 2012, which judged it to be inadequate.

The news was met with major concern from parents, who rushed to support the school and dubbed it unfair.

Since then the Grove has continued to be monitored by Ofsted but following the latest inspection the education authority has stepped in amid concerns standards have not improved enough.

It is a major blow for parents and supporters who were celebrating last year when it became a co-operative foundation school.

Parent Paul Keeling, who is a teacher himself at another school, said: "Parents are so concerned they have launched a Facebook page but we feel really the staff and governors have been left with no choice.

"I have been in some academy schools and have seen standards and behaviour that are not good.

"The Grove is a small local community school, it has its issues like any other school, but is it ethical, moral or indeed legal to model children into a business plan to make money?

County councillor Ben Adams, cabinet member for learning and skills, said if there were no signs of improvement the council would recommend the school became a sponsored academy.

He said: "The Grove has been in special measures for 15 months now and following its last visit a week ago was still deemed to be inadequate.

"This is not acceptable and so we will be asking its governors to vote to become a sponsored academy at a meeting tomorrow."

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