It is utterly horrifying that even when governors comply with the DfE pressure to ‘choose’ sponsored academy conversion as the ‘agreed best option’ they have no say in the choice of sponsor. It is utterly horrifying that the DfE is dismissing a local university sponsor as unsuitable and instead is promoting a sponsor with a clear poor record and even worse – the unsavoury American for-profit group K12. The illusion of choice was always little more than a mirage, but this really makes the DfE agenda crystal-clear.
The campaign at Foundry primary school in Winson Green is at a crucial point. Rob Briscoe, the DfE’s hitman in Birmingham, told the governors on Thursday recently that they had to choose between two sponsors – Oasis and K12 – and make the decision on Thursday 6th December. The chair of governors had invited Wolverhampton University to sponsor – they have set up the Education Central academy trust – and they were keen, but Briscoe vetoed them as ‘not suitable’.
K12 is an America schools-for-profit company which has just moved into the market here and has set up a front organisation called the Erudition Trust. They are opening their first school in England in Walsall in January, taking over North Walsall primary school. They made a presentation at the Thursday governors meeting. The following day LA officer Sue Twells announced that they had withdrawn – we don’t know why.
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