Parents protest about East Cambridgeshire school’s proposal to become part of an academy trust

This East Cambs school could be become an academy - but parents are upset they weren't notified of t

This East Cambs school could be become an academy - but parents are upset they weren't notified of the move before. PHOTO: Google - Credit: Archant

An East Cambridgeshire school that could become an academy has caused outrage among parents who claim they were “appalled” to not be told about the move before.

Swaffham Prior CofE alerted parents of their proposal to become part of a multi-academy trust (MAT) earlier this week.

However, parents claim that the community were told nothing about the decision prior to the announcement.

A multi-academy trust is where a group of schools is governed through a single set of members and directors.

Yesterday (May 17) saw a protest held outside of the Station Road school - with a petition already gaining signatures from around 35 families.

Father-of-three Peter Haine started the campaign with his wife Louise and a group has also been set up on Facebook.

They currently have two children at the school.

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The 38-year-old explained: “We had an email from the board of governors on Wednesday afternoon, basically saying the decision had been made.

“We feel it was appalling to not have any opportunity to say how we feel about it. It was already a done deal.

“There has been a Facebook page set up and a lot of parents have started a discussion on it.

“Yesterday [Thursday] we went to the school gates and got a petition signed by around 35 families which is half of those who have children at the school.

“Everyone we spoke to at the school gates had no inclining of what was happening.

“On Thursday morning the majority had not read the email yet so they were unaware. When we told them they were shocked.

“I sent an email to the chair of the board of governors explaining what we felt and the response was standard. It seemed it was just going to happen anyway without our input.”

When the Ely Standard contacted Swaffham Prior, they said that a letter had been sent to all parents today (May 18) to “explain more.”

No further details were wished to be given at present.

Academy schools are state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the Department for Education and are not controlled by the local authority control.

Academies have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, the curriculum and teachers’ pay and conditions.