Controversy mounts over Bradfield academy bid

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BRADFIELD is the latest Sheffield school to be split by controversy over moves to turn it into an academy.

Governors are due to decide next Thursday whether to press ahead with plans to take the school out of local authority control.

But angry parents have labelled the consultation a sham and hit out at governors’ refusal to meet them or to hold a public meeting.

The governing body voted in November to begin consultations on two issues: whether to seek academy status and whether to add a sixth form.

Meetings were held with staff, unions and heads of neighbouring schools and parents were sent consultation documents. But governors made a point of stating there would be no public meeting and no ballot.

Now campaigners are accusing governors of bias – and appealing to parents to consider the negative issues.

A spokesperson said: “Parents have grave concerns over the entire consultation process, the disregard in which they are held by the school and the lack of transparency regarding the information from Bradfield School.

“There has been extreme bias in the consultation letters and online information to parents. There is only one outcome possible to a thoroughly discreditable and unreliable survey of parents exposed to very one-sided information.”

Chair of governors Deborah Eaton said: “The consultation process has been commended as being robust, comprehensive and one of the best in the country by an independent observer.”

She added that conversion was being sought in order to provide a sixth form for the school – a long-term aim of governors.

But parents say this is a ‘red herring’ and argue that post-16 provision is possible under the current system. They also point out that in at least one survey, 80% of teachers were against the move.

The case against academy status for Bradfield is laid out at: http://bradfieldschoolacademynews.wordpress.com.

lKing Ecgbert School controversially won academy status last month, joining existing academies Yewlands, Springs, Park and Parkwood. Tapton’s application has been held back by legal red tape.