Struggling school considers federation

By Tim Clarke 18/06 Updated: 18/06 14:56

A STRUGGLING Warndon school is considering forging a more formal partnership with another county school in a bid to turn around its fortunes.

But city and county councillor Alan Amos has warned the plans to create a federation between Warndon Primary School and Abbeywood First School, in Redditch, would be disastrous for pupils.

Under the proposals the Warndon school, which was put in special measures last September, and Abbeywood would be led by one single governing body and executive headteacher.

Abbeywood's headteacher Diane Smith was seconded to Warndon Primary earlier this year as acting head and a recent Ofsted inspection found standards were improving.

A consultation has been launched with parents to seek their views on the federation proposals and the school is inviting them to a meeting on Wednesday, June 27.

The Standard understands the county council is keen for Warndon Primary to consider becoming a sponsored academy but the governing body's preferred option would be the partnership with Abbeywood.

Jill Georgiou, head of governors at Warndon Primary, told the Standard a federation would have mutual benefits for both schools.

"With an academy the school would be sponsored and withdrawn from the local authority - it becomes a separate entity," she said.

"But by federating the two schools they would still be accountable to the local community and we feel that is very important. We feel this is the best way to go to ensure we have strong leadership."

But the proposals have come under fire from Coun Amos, who represents Warndon on the city and county councils, and fears the school will suffer as a result of having a shared headteacher.

Coun Amos also accused the council of dragging its heels over taking action to improve standards at the school.

"It is scandalous - the governors have been forced into this position but it will be disastrous for the pupils," he said.

"Recently we have seen some improvements but it could go backwards with a situation where the head is not permanently on the site. I do not believe a head can manage two schools that far apart. The obvious option is to have a full time permanent head."

Councillor Jane Potter, the council's cabinet member for education and skills, said: "The council has been working with the governing body of Warndon Primary School who have been looking at a number of options, including a federation, or becoming a sponsored academy.

"Any recommendation about the school's future will be made by the governing body following a period of consultation."

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