Sudbury Upper School: First Casualty of Suffolk Free Schools
|Sudbury Upper School|
At Easter the Headteacher at Sudbury resigned following very low applications for places. This seems to have been caused at least in part by the opening of a the Stour Valley Community school in Clare - particularly as free transport has been provided to the School by the County Council.
The departure of the Head followed on from a poor Ofsted inspection that said the school was making inadequate progress. However the move to two tier under the school reorganisation review could have given the school a new lease of life if it had a chance to get established.
With this background I do not think it is surprising that the Governors are bringing in an academy sponsor as it may well be the only realistic way to turn the school round and ensure its future.
There do, however, seem to be questions about how this has been presented to parents with many claiming they only heard when told that children would need a completely new uniform next year. An open evening at the school on Wed 9 May will give parents a chance to ask questions.
The Ormiston Trust have plenty of experience successfully running academies, this will be their 19th so they are certainly not an unknown quantity.
Sudbury Upper School seems to be the first casualty of the Suffolk free schools. The concern is that it will not be the last as cash and pupil starved local schools end up forced to bring in academy sponsors as they are turned into failing schools. It’s not that I disagree with sponsors in these circumstances but it seems wrong to actually force schools into failure.
But that is what free schools in areas with declining pupil numbers are doing. There aren’t enough children to go around. It’s easy to say these schools should “up their game” and face the competition but the way school’s are funded means that is easier said than done as the money need to do this goes with the children the schools has lost producing a downward spiral.