Primary school in Queen’s Park dumps academy sponsor over cronyism claims

Salusbury School has parted ways with its academy sponsor

Salusbury School has parted ways with its academy sponsor - Credit: Archant

Salusbury Primary School planned to team up with Park Federation

A primary school in Queen’s Park which is due to convert to academy status has dumped its proposed sponsor.

Salusbury Primary School, in Salusbury Road, had planned to seek a partnership with Park Federation following a poor Ofsted report – but it has emerged that the school has pulled out of the agreement after a breakdown in relations.

The school currently has a consultant head teacher in place following the departure of the previous head last year.

But it is alleged that PF’s chief executive wanted to draft in a friend as head teacher at SPS, causing unrest within the school.

Under new governmental rules, schools which get poor Oftsed reports are forced by the Department for Education (DfE) to convert to academy status meaning they have a sponsor placed with them or have to find their own.

They then break away from local authority control and are funded centrally but critics claim it is a form of privatisation with organisations running them for profit.

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SPS avoided having a sponsor forced upon them and announced in November they had agreed to be a partner with PF, which runs two schools in Hayes, West London claiming they “embodied their values”.

Dot Griffiths, chair of governors at SPS, said the decision was in the best interests of the school.

She said: “We came to a decision that PF was not the optimum sponsor for our school. Park sponsor very good schools in Hillingdon but we experienced some disagreements and slowly began to realise that we did not agree with their approach to some processes.”

A letter was sent to all parents for children to carry home in their book bags, informing them of the split.

Ms Griffiths added: “As soon as we have firm information we will meet with parents. For now the most important thing is that we continue with our progress out of special measures.”

Jean Roberts, secretary of NUT and ATL executive, told the Times: “We are pleased that governors and staff have realised that any academy is not good for the school.

“We await developments but will give full support to staff, governors and parents with the aim of returning SPS to the local authority.”

Dr Martin Young, CEO of PF said: “We had been working in partnership with Salusbury Primary School from January 2013.

During that period many improvements were put in place for the children. “This was the result of effective collaborative work between Salusbury staff and federation staff.

“However, by April 2013 the federation judged that its vision and the school’s vision overlapped but not to a degree that made a long-term partnership feasible. We very much hope that Salusbury Primary School quickly finds another strategic partner that can support the school in the future.”

The DfE were unable to provide a response.