'Litany of gross failings' uncovered at Woodfield School as delayed partnership with Village School draws near
PUBLISHED: 09:35 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 February 2019
A government investigation uncovering a "litany of gross failings" at Woodfield School has piled further controversy onto its delayed partnership with The Village School to form an academy trust.
Monday saw publication of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) investigation into Woodfield, which took place over a two-day period in June last year.
The damning report into mismanagement at Woodfield flagged up several failings, including payments of thousands of pounds of school funds to consultants, “conflicts of interest” and “a lack of transparency” over finances.
In spite of the report, Kay Charles, executive headteacher of both schools, told the Times that Village and Woodfield could form an academy trust as soon as March 1: 10 months after the plans were approved by the Department for Education.
“Woodfield School accepts the findings of the ESFA report,” she said.
“The school has been working hard to address the issues and will continue to do so, in order to meet all the requirements and recommendations set out by the ESFA and in accordance with regulations.”
The Village School, a special needs school that caters for 270 students and is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted”, is a cherished part of the Kingsbury community.
Brent Cllr Jumbo Chan, who has supported the campaign to stop the academisation throughout, believes the process has left The Village in limbo, sowing uncertainty among staff.
“In addition to offering no concrete benefit, the decision ignored completely the swaths of concerns voiced by parents, campaigners, and the school’s own outstanding teachers and support staff,” he said.
“The report is a wake-up call that leads to the unavoidable conclusion that the whole academisation process should immediately cease. I urge the governing body to now finally listen to its staff, and withdraw its application to academise, and remain within the council family of schools.”