We’re sure everybody in our community supports Winterbourne International Academy and hopes it’s strong record and recent successful exams rules are maintained in the future.
In response to the on-going situation with re-brokering. The major political parties in the area have confirmed their support. Their states are reproduced unedited below.
Matthew Riddle the leader of the Conservative Group of South Gloucestershire councillors said.
The South Gloucestershire Conservative group appreciate the very high standards that the Winterbourne International Academy have been consistently delivering. We recognise the hard work of the students and staff in this and are proud to see the school recognised as one of the top state secondary schools in the country.
We want to see a solution to the current challenges that works best to support pupils, staff, parents and the community and that ensures the excellent GCSE and 6 form results that are consistently achieved continue.
We are keen to see transparent decisions being made about the future of the school that are in the best interests of all stakeholders and that the views of parents, pupils and staff are considered and respected within this process.
Given this we feel a strong management team who have a proven track record with high achieving local schools to be the best option to ensure the future of the Winterbourne International Academy.
We are committed to continue to keep driving up standards and ensuring that the students at the Winterbourne International Academy have the best opportunities available to them at both at GCSE and A-level and support all those who are working to ensure the school continues to deliver outstanding results.
Claire Young, Liberal Democrat PPC for Thornbury and Yate, on behalf of South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats said:
As both a community representative and a parent, I am extremely concerned about the current difficulties at The Ridings Federation.
Thank you to all those who have shared their concerns with me. I attended the meetings held by the trust at the two schools, to hear the issues raised and to question the Chair of the Trustees. I was also there with hundreds of parents at the Save our School meeting and the peaceful demonstration last week. The huge turnouts show just how much people value their local school.
Parents and students want and expect a say in the future of their school. They are horrified that decisions have been taken without them being consulted and that a huge national chain of academies could be imposed on them by the Department for Education. Schools, and their students, thrive when they are supported by engaged parents, so I hope those taking the decision will take note of the overwhelming opposition to Oasis Community Learning.
There are many questions that need answering in the coming months about how this situation has been allowed to develop. It has really highlighted the lack of transparency and accountability in the academy system. For the sake of local young people, the top priority has to be to get the two schools back on track. I have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening MP, Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System and Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner to raise these concerns.
Lead Member for the Labour Group on this matter Cllr Adam Monk said:
I am responding on behalf of the Labour Councillors on South Gloucestershire Council in my capacity as Lead Member for Resources.
We truly sympathise with the plight that Winterbourne Academy finds itself in. Unfortunately, when the Ridings chose to become an Academy it opted out of local authority control, and therefore the council and its members have no influence or control over the actions of the Trust or its governance arrangements. Which is extremely frustrating.
As a group the Labour councillors have been aware of the financial difficulties of the academy and as such we have on more than one occasion asked the Leader of the Council to lobby the DfE for a change of policy so that the authority has sight of the accounts of all academies as this has a reputational impact on the authority as well as impacts the ability of the authority to ensure there are enough school places to meet demand.
I am sorry that there is little we can do except to speak up for the school’s interests, however as I have stated we have no influence as the authority over academies.
Jenny Vernon Chair/Coordinator, South Gloucestershire Green Party said:
South Gloucestershire Green Party fully supports the students, parents and teachers of Winterbourne International Academy in their quest to achieve open and meaningful consultation over the future pf their school.
Having just been listed in the Sunday Times top 250 state schools in the country, it is clear this is a high performing school that empowers teachers to teach and students to achieve their potential – exactly what any parent would want for their child’s education.
However, the lack of transparency of information from the trustees and their intent to pursue a direction that is not supported by the students, parents and teachers – and may include questionable interests – is totally unacceptable.
Likewise, there remains a troubling lack of transparency and accountability over the alleged financial deficit. Fuller information is needed, including how each of the proposed bidders would deal with this, in order to allay fears around possible conflicts of interest concerning relationships between key players.
This is a high performing school with fantastic and dedicated teachers and students, who have been let down by poor leadership and management. They deserve an optimistic future and the right to help shape this.
We share the campaigners’ concerns that a national Multi Academy Trust is unlikely to deliver local accountability – and nothing about Oasis Academy’s track record appears to demonstrate their ability to deliver this – or continue to maintain the excellent standards the school currently enjoys.
We urge Justine Greening, Rebecca Clarke, Lord Nash and colleagues to support the students, teachers and parents in their desire for transparent information and the right to shape the future of their high performing school.