Governors at a Lewisham school have decided to apply for academy status, despite fierce opposition from parents.
Parents of Tidemill primary school in Deptford are examining ways of a legal challenge to the decision – taken late at a meeting of the school governors on Thursday night – claiming that their rights have not been taken into account.
The plans to apply for academy status are being driven by Mark Elms, the headteacher at the school, who was recently named as the highest paid teacher in the country.
Following Thursday night’s meeting, the governors said in a statement: “This decision was made following an extensive consultation period, which commenced in July, and asked parents, staff and the local community for their views.
“Tidemill will continue to provide a quality education for all children in Deptford and the local area.
“The school remains in the state sector and there are no plans to change its admissions criteria.”
The decision was greeted with disappointment by parents who have been campaigning against the plans.
Leila Galloway, mother of two pupils at Tidemill and leader of the “Deptford Says No” campaign, questioned the decision: “Can we trust the governors that decided to give a head teacher 80% of City Challenge Money when it should have gone to the school in the head’s absence?”
Among those who wrote to the governors expressing their opposition were Lewisham Council and Alan Hall, Lewisham councillor, who wrote on behalf of all Labour councillors. Local MP Joan Ruddock has also spoken out against the proposal.
During the governors’ meeting last night a candlelit vigil was held by parents and children outside the school.
Ray Woolford from Lewisham People Before Profit said: “I am a local resident, active in this community and a school is very much part of the whole community. We can’t keep looking at schools as something totally separate. They are essential and by turning Tidemill into an academy we’re going to take that away. Deptford needs its schools – it’s a very deprived area.”
Click here for similar stories