Arrow Vale High School in Redditch announces academy consultation

Arrow Vale Community High School in Redditch has announced a 6 week consultation process in the following letter to parents which is also available to download from the school website:

Consultation Stakeholders Parent Letter (15.05.12)

15th May 2012
Dear Parent(s)/Carer,
Should Arrow Vale Community High School convert to Academy Status?
The Governing Body is giving very serious consideration to the conversion of Arrow Vale from its current status as a Local Authority Maintained School to Academy Status by becoming the fourth member of the Royal Society for Arts Family of Academies (RSAA).
If Arrow Vale is to convert to academy status as an RSA Academy, Arrow Vale will work within the family of schools to secure the best possible education for each and every student. We would benefit from having access to the RSA and the RSA fellows worldwide to support our students and staff learning.
The principles that underlie the RSA family of academies are:

  1. School improvement – academy partners are committed to school and social improvement
  2. Collegiality – academies in the family are committed to shared learning as the basis for school improvement

The RSA education agenda is in particular committed to:

  • Realising human capability
  • Educational improvement and social justice to enable all young people to achieve

Whole education, including:

  • challenging false dualism between skills and knowledge
  • educating for citizenship and employability
  • an engaging, relevant curriculum, with best-practice competency development

The following are some of the changes that could happen and the potential advantages for Arrow Vale and its students and staff:

  • greater freedom to follow the curriculum most suited to our students
  • greater autonomy over the allocation and use of our resources
  • potential of using alternative funding streams to improve further
  • freedom to review the system of governance

Arrow Vale is a rapidly improving school, making good progress in all areas as identified by a recent Ofsted visit. We believe Academy Status will benefit our students and the local community and we will continue to champion the rights to a good school for all our parents and work in partnership with local schools, to remain an inclusive school that is truly comprehensive.  As an academy, we would be committed to maintaining our current admissions policy. This means that the catchment area and entry criteria would remain the same. In other words, the younger brothers and sisters of students currently attending the school would continue to enjoy the same entitlement to an Arrow Vale education.

We are committed to continuing working in partnership with local schools, and of course our Post 16 partners. We would wish to continue the positive relationships with schools in Redditch; especially through our pyramid and other secondary partnership arrangements. We hope to maintain a positive working relationship with all Worcestershire Schools and the Local Authority.

If you would like to express your opinion in writing please do so and forward to email address office@arrowvale.worcs.sch.uk or send a letter to the school address, addressed to Mrs S. O’Brien, Headteacher’s P.A., or direct to myself, by 22nd June 2012.

Yours sincerely

Mr G. Shears Headteacher – on behalf of the Governing Body of
Arrow Vale Community High School

It is notable that while this letter outlines the advantages that school leadership believes academy status will bring, there is insufficient information given for stakeholders to have a clear understanding of what the implications of academy status will mean for them. According to the barrister David Wolfe,  for consultation to comply with the law  there is an obligation;

‘to let those who have a potential interest in the subject matter know in clear terms what the proposal is and exactly why it is under positive consideration, telling them enough (which may be a good deal) to enable them to make an intelligent response.’

There is no mention in the letter of a consultation document that might contain such information, nor is there any mention of a consultation meeting for parents.

We would urge all parents of Arrow Vale to write to the headteacher and chair of governors as a matter of urgency to ask;

  • For an open and democratic consultation process to involve all stakeholders including parents of prospective primary pupils
  • That the consultation be based on a comprehensive consultation document with the consultation period extended to 6 weeks after such a document has been made available.
  • For an open meeting in which parents can hear from speakers for and against academy conversion.
  • For an assurance that a decision will only be taken to convert with the agreement of a majority of parents.
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