Fight to save Sedgehill from academy status continues

Sedgehill School. Pic: Martin Powell-Davis.

Sedgehill School. Pic: Martin Powell-Davis.

The “Save Sedghill” battle continues as the council have announced the establishment of an Interim Executive Board for Sedgehill School.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Under Secretary of State for Schools, Lord Nash, have given the green light to remove the governors of Sedgehill School, according to a statement on the council’s website on Friday 9.

The existing governors will be replaced with a new board of appointees of the council’s own choosing.

The on-going campaign “Stop Academies in Lewisham” known as SAiL was launched towards the end of last year to save Sedghill School, plus five others in Lewisham from academy status.

Sedgehill school was previously described as “failing it’s students”, by Frankie Sulke, executive director for children and young people, making it a driving force in the change of the schools’ status.

The newly-introduced Interim Executive Board’s key role is to ensure school improvement and is independent to the local authority, although it receives support from the council.

However, there are fears that the newly introduced board is a step towards the academy status which protestors have campaigned against, moving control away from Lewisham Council.

Three individuals have been appointed to the new board.

Robert Ellis, who joined Ofsted in 2002 as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools and, most recently, worked as a senior vice principal at Leigh CTC, is part of the board.

Ellis has 27 years of teaching experience and, since retirement, has worked part-time as an independent improvement consultant.

Bernie Borland CBE was a former headteacher at St. Paul’s Academy in Abbey Wood and an Ofsted inspector with 37 years of experience in inner London schools.

The third member, Irene Cleaver, is a recently retired executive headteacher of the King Alfred Federation, which is made up of two neighbouring schools near to Sedgehill.

There will be a formal handover from the school’s current governing body to the new board.

Martin Powell-Davies, the general secretary of the Lewisham branch of the NUT said: “This is the news we’ve all been anxious for. We’ve all fought hard and campaigned for our school and our community values. We’ve done a great job. We’ve gained over 2,000 likes on this Facebook page and even more combined signatures on our various petitions.”

“We’ve shown the misinformed heads at the top of the council what democracy in action looks like and just how mighty our lion’s roar can be if we all roar together.”

More than 100 people, including students, teachers and parents protested outside Lewisham town hall in Catford to oppose the change in the school’s status in December 2014.

The Save Sedghill campaign says they now have to ensure that the board works together with the school and its staff.

You can find more information and stay up to date on the on-going campaign here, or follow #SaveSedgehill.

Leave a Reply