Waltham Holy Cross

Parents are fighting against forced academisation of their children’s primary school, Waltham Holy Cross Primary, in Waltham Abbey, Essex, to NET Academies, which campaigners say is the sixth worst trust in England.

Campaign background, from Hands Off Waltham Holy Cross

After a damning Ofsted inspection, that a later Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed 63 CORRECTIONS made between the draft report and final, resulted in the school being given a Special Measures judgement, we have been given an Order by the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC), to join a Multi Academy Trust.

Parents were shocked by the recent Ofsted report. It was untrue and heavily contested by the school behind closed doors, before parents even knew. The school has improved massively since the appointment of the current Headteacher, who has been in post just over a year. In the 18 months since the appointment of Erica Barnett our SATs results have improved by 26%. Our children are thriving and are put first. Behaviour is excellent and the children love to get up and get into ‘the best school in the universe’. We may need Improvement but we are not a Special Measures school..in fact far from it. We have had to resort to lengthy FOIs to collect information that should be readily available.

The school has had a troubled history and has been neglected by the Local Authorities, we have had previous trouble with the infamous Lilac Sky Schools approx 3-4 years ago. The LA’s favoured trust has been chosen as the sponsor despite ‘orphaning’ schools and neglecting responsibilities. NET Academies Trust is also listed 8th worst performing trust in the Country in the recently published Educational Policy Institute report

There are serious questions in relation to conflicts of interests as the Director of Education for Essex has a link as an officer of significant control to the incoming trust. The trust’s own accounts state that they have a good working relationship with the Regional Schools Commissioner. The trust’s CEO is also an Ofsted inspector. There are still fresh questions and concerns that need answering. It is a complete farce. It poses a huge risk to our children’s education and well-being.
There are no other professions in which such conflicts of interests would be allowed.

We have huge amounts of evidence to support that this is not in the best interests of our children, school, community or teachers. Our pleas have fallen on deaf ears so legal action is our only way forward.

Despite our huge concerns we have been rebuffed, fibbed to and told to keep quiet! Huge investigations have unveiled what could quite frankly only be described as a national scandal.

We have had help and advice from some fantastic experts, solicitors, investigative journalists, barristers, lords and ladies, and we now have enough evidence that proves that this sorry saga has more going on than meets the eye.

Our legal experts have advised we have more than enough evidence to proceed with a full judicial review. The Department for Education has also recently acknowledged that academies are not performing any better than LA managed schools. Once these decisions are made there is no going back!

We have a responsibility to ensure that our children get the very best education, and we do not believe that this is the correct choice. Waltham Holy Cross Primary School should not be forced to join any academy trust.

We do not feel that Ofsted or HMI have taken any notice of the evident improvement across the board. The evidence has NOT been acknowledged IN SPITE of it all being available. We feel it has been DELIBERATELY ignored. It is clearly a set up and those responsible must be outed.

The Department for Education is currently operating in the most disgraceful way, there is a huge lack of transparency and accountability.

For the full story so far please check out @warwickmansell on twitter and his website Education Uncovered.

More information can also be found on our Facebook group: Hands Off Waltham Holy Cross and the recent article published by Aditya Chakrabortty for The Guardian on the link below:

In the press

On the radio

On Friday 3rd August 2018 BBC Radio Essex ran an item about the Hands Off Waltham Holy Cross campaign

Parents Jay Taylor and Shauna-Rose Roberts discussed the campaign with hosts Ben Fryer and Jodie Halford before statements from relevant authorities and a phone-on.

This is Jay and Shaunagh’s discussion.

Lauren Alston, parent of a child at the school and a qualified teacher, took part in the phone-in.

NB – all copyright to this recording is owned by the BBC. We’re sharing it here for information purposes. You can listen to the full programme here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06dc70y