Campaign against Backwell Academy grows

PUBLISHED: 17:01 10 February 2011

More opposition to Backwell Academy.

More opposition to Backwell Academy.

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Campaign against Backwell Academy grows

AN INCREASING number of parents have joined the campaign to try to stop Backwell School from becoming an academy, according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Backwell School’s governing body applied for academy status last month after extensive consultation with parents, staff, students and North Somerset Council.

The change is expected to take place in April, but the North Somerset branch of the NUT is opposing the plans as it claims an ‘overwhelming majority’ of Backwell staff are against it.

Campaigners travelled to Yatton last weekend to asked parents to sign a petition against the move. North Somerset NUT’s secretary Jon Reddiford, said: “The response was excellent. Not one person said they were in favour of the transition to academy status.

“Some did not know about it or held no strong view, but the majority were against, and a number of parents are very angry at the way this is being rushed through with minimal consultation.

“The main reason the NUT is opposed to academies is they stand outside local democracy and accountability.”

But Backwell School’s governing body is refuting the NUT’s claims, stating that it carried out extensive consultation and is still inviting questions and comments from parents and staff.

A spokesman said: “In October parents were informed of the issues and invited to a meeting in November, which was very well attended.

“All comments and views were noted and considered by the governing body. It is not true that most parents at the meeting were against academy status, and we must point out that Mr Reddiford was not at the meeting.

“Governors only decided to proceed with the application for academy status following this consultation meeting with parents and two consultation meetings with staff.

“In addition, the school has provided an email address for further comments and queries. Since the start of December there have been three contacts from parents, all of which have been responded to.

“The governing body, which is made up entirely of parents, staff and members of the local community, wants Backwell to continue to provide an outstanding education for local children and young people across the age and ability range, and believes that taking on academy status is the best way to ensure this.

“As divisional secretary for the NUT, Mr Reddiford represents those teachers at the school who are members of the NUT, and not all the teachers, nor the 80 support staff.”

The NUT is holding a public meeting to discuss the matter at Backwell Playhouse, Mariners Drive, on February 15 at 7.30pm.


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