Parents accuse Wanstead primary school of ‘broken promises’ over academisation plans

Parents protest outside Our Lady of Lourdes Primary, in Chestnut Drive, in October. Picture: Paul D

Parents protest outside Our Lady of Lourdes Primary, in Chestnut Drive, in October. Picture: Paul Donovan - Credit: Archant

Parents have written to a school’s governors in protest about plans to make it an academy.

Families with children at Our Lady of Lourdes primary school in Chestnut Drive, Wanstead have been fighting its academisation for months, but are more frustrated than ever.

The school is run by Catholic body Brentwood Diocese and will be moved away from any council input, financial or otherwise, once it becomes an academy.

Some parents are fervently against this move and have accused the school's governing body and the diocese of keeping them in the dark.

Both the diocese and governing body have previously denied these accusations, but Redbridge Council has said it will fight the process of academisation "wherever it rears its head".

Now, unhappy parents have penned a letter to the school's governing body asking it to update the information given on its website about the academisation "as a matter of urgency".

Parents have also asked the body to fill its currently vacant position of parent governor as soon as possible.

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Vicky Taylor, a mum of two children at the school, said: "We have asked twice and have been greeted with silence as usual. There is also a vacancy for a foundation governor.

"The school is obliged to have two parents on the governing body and there has only been one for the last two meetings. Trust between the governing body and parents is at an all-time low given the broken promises of better communication.

"But this lack of response to filling this role along with silence and withholding information does make parents wonder what they are hiding. Or even if the governors are making decisions based on what is best for the school at all."

Cllr Paul Donovan, who represents Wanstead Village ward, added: "It is disappointing that the governing body has not fed back to the parents after the April meeting.

"Communication remains a problem. What the parents want and need is an ongoing dialogue with all those concerned in this process. Openess and transparency should be the guiding principles.

"There is a growing frustration amongst the parents, who feel the school and diocese are not taking their concerns seriously.

"It's as if they are going through the motions, with the parents being forced to expend much time and effort just trying to get them to communicate - this is totally unacceptable in fhe 21st century."

A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: "Parent governors play a key role in the governing of schools and therefore we would always encourage Redbridge schools to take all reasonable steps to secure a full complement of parent governors on the governing body.

"Where schools academise we believe it's important to have a full and comprehensive consultation process with all parents and carers."

Brentwood Diocese and the school's governing body have been contacted for comment.