Fight against Littlegreen School academisation continues as parents call public meeting

Campaigners hoping to stop a special school in Compton being converted into an academy are to hold a public meeting on Wednesday.

Monday, 17th September 2018, 1:04 pm
Updated Monday, 17th September 2018, 1:08 pm
ks180160-1 Chi Littlegreen Protest phot kate Janine Young,left, Hayley Rose and Keeli Bennett.ks180160-1 SUS-181004-191628008

Littlegreen School, for boys with autism and other social educational needs, was originally due to become part of Solent Academies Trust on September 1 but the process has been delayed due to ‘complexities’.

Now parents opposed to the change are hoping to push for a full reinspection by Ofsted ahead of a revised conversion date of January 1 to prove the school has improved sufficiently for the academy order to be revoked.

Hayley Rose, from Bognor, who is leading the campaign, said: “The bottom line is we don’t want the boys disrupted, the boys are doing very well, we had our monitoring inspection in July and it was very, very positive.

“We’ve been told that the chair of our interim executive board does have the power to ask Ofsted to come in for a full inspection and if they come in around November, our leadership will have a year’s worth of data to show that we’re not in serious weaknesses any more.

“That’s when we can really push for the academy order to be revoked.”

Campaigners have argued that the current headteacher of Littlegreen, Pam Ridgwell, had only been in her post a total of eight weeks before the Ofsted inspection last year.

As a school rated in ‘serious weaknesses’, Littlegreen was referred for academisation, a process that can be halted by the regional school’s commissioner under discretionary powers if the school has made ‘sufficient’ improvements.

Following the monitoring inspection, a note on the school’s website from Deborah Myers, director of education and skills at West Sussex County Council, confirmed the report did not change the school’s grading and the academisation process was continuing.

Solent Academies Trust has said the trust will enable greater sharing or resources but Hayley said she and a fellow parent had met the commissioner to argue it was not right for Littlegreen.

She said all were welcome to attend the public meeting, called by herself and another member of the parents’ forum, to discuss how to fight the academy order.

The meeting is set for 5.30pm at the school on Wednesday.