Opposition has been overriden

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I WAS sad to see Ratton School rushing ahead with the notion of a Trust School.

On investigation I find that governance by the local authority is removed and goes to the stakeholders, a term loosely applied to the governors, their commercial partners (more of that later), parents of the pupils at the school, and one presumes the community at large.

The school has title to the building and land returned to them, a reverse of 1974 when the school handed title to the local authority. An external inspection continues to be made, and the local authority it would appear, continues to pay the salaries. It is not clear whether pensions are paid also from county hall.

The criteria for changing governance of the school were published by the Government.

This government is rapidly moving on to yet another ‘concept’ in free schools. New governments trip over themselves to put their imprint on major topics like education.

The idea of free schools, is American. We have been trying to copy America since Kenneth Baker was Education Secretary, a daft idea since our education system is vastly superior.

Ratton governors appear impressed with the idea of commercial partners and have overridden what little opposition has been voiced. A very weak public consultation has been conducted which is currently being challenged.

The response from parents was minimal, the reasons for this were never considered.

One can only suppose the issue of education is difficult to understand, nor is protest easy.

Who has made decisions in the past and who’ll make them in the future about our children’s education? I prefer to have a democratically-elected group ie. local councillors of whom I can ask universal questions, in charge of education.

An alliance of educationalists and politicians and a wider view than a small collection of commercial businesses and corporations who never look beyond their own four walls but are intent on ‘empire building’.

Have these commercial bodies had to make statements about what they have to offer to the schools? Can they improve upon the core subjects taught at the school? Have they members of staff with the time and energy to devote resources to the school?

The governors must go back a stage and prove their understanding of what is happening. Hopefully the current challenge to their decisions will be successful and a more rigorous blueprint for the future will come into use.

Jocelyn McCarthy

Dominica Court