Governors act to counter Bishops Castle Primary School's 'academy' plans


Barry Jones

A MEETING for parents of pupils at Bishops Castle Primary School was held on Friday, March 3, aimed at putting forward an alternative plan for the school’s future.

The meeting was prompted by moves to explore converting the school to academy status and joining a Herefordshire Educational Trust.

The proposal to consider joining with the Bishop Anthony Educational Trust, based in Hereford and linked to the Hereford Diocese, was put in a letter to parents from school head teacher Andrew Barker.

But governors of the Community College hit back by organising Friday's meeting for parents of the pupils at the primary school and other local schools.

The meeting is at 6pm at the town’s SpArC centre, with Community College head teacher Alan Doust and his governors keen to put forward an alternative: the South West Shropshire Learning Trust, with which they have been working for the past three years and which already includes Bishops Castle Primary School.

Community College governors fear children will be disadvantaged if the school leaves the SWSLT after having been among a number of local schools working together to ease transition between the primary schools and the secondary school in Bishops Castle so effectively within the past three years.

“The primary school’s announcement took us by surprise, given the three years of collaborative work undertaken by the South West Shropshire Learning Trust,” said College governors’ chairman Jim Sparkes, announcing the meeting.

“There is a well-supported Multi- Academy Trust being proposed by the Local Authority.

“It will enhance the partnership between all schools in the Bishops Castle area and enrich the student experience.

“We would like the Bishops Castle Primary School parents to know of this alternative before they make their decision,” he said.

The Bishops Castle School has been perceived as the least enthusiastic in Shropshire Trust involvement but some parents are alarmed and concerned that the letter went out just before half-term.

They feel this has not left enough time for them to get the information they need to make their minds up before the March 8 deadline for views to be submitted.

But primary school governors feel joining the Herefordshire trust would not affect its involvement in the Shropshire trust or endanger the College.

See full story in the County Times

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