Government must respond to Baverstock 'mess' following allegations closure was deliberately engineered says GMB

Posted On: 
17th February 2017

Letter from former trustee suggests potential sponsors were turned away from failing academy.

The Government must respond to the Baverstock ‘mess’ following allegations the academy’s closure was deliberately engineered says GMB.

Baverstock Academy, in Birmingham, was a well regarded school before being taken over by the Leap Academy Trust in 2013.

Since then it has lurched from crisis to disaster, from allegations of financial irregularities to being placed in special measures.

Despite a passionate campaign from GMB, teachers, pupils and parents, the Government is now looking to close the school.

A letter has now emerged from an unnamed ‘Former Trustee of the LEAP Academy Trust’ alleging Christine Quinn, Regional Schools Commissioner, stopped looking for any potential sponsors for the Academy - and even told an interested party to walk away.

Quinn told GMB seven Academy Trusts were approached, but six of which turned away as 'unsuitable'.

While Quinn refused to name the potential sponsors, she confirmed they were the leading Academy Trusts.

No reason has been given as to why the Trusts were considered unsuitable.

This is hard to understand as they will have taken over other failing schools in similar circumstances.

If Baverstock closes, it is thought a new free school will open in the area.

GMB is calling on the Department fof Education to investigate the allegations and to review the possibility of Academy sponsors taking on Baverstock.

Stuart Richards, GMB Senior Organiser, said:

“The letter from a former Trustee alleges that potential academy sponsors were actively discouraged from taking on Baverstock Academy.

“If this is true, then the closure of the school was deliberately engineered.

“This is clearly unacceptable.

“A school closure will cost the public a significant amount of money.

“It will damage the careers of staff working at the school and it will jeopardise the education of those children currently at Baverstock.”

“The DfE needs to respond to the allegations and put this mess right.”