Parents concerned as Ravenstone School plans to become an Academy

4 posts
Community Editor
Posts: 755
Joined: Sep 2018
Options:
Share this post on:

Parents concerned as Ravenstone School plans to become an Academy

Postby Community Editor » Tue May 07, 2019 5:52 pm

Parents have raised concerns about plans for Ravenstone Primary in Balham to become an academy.

A six-week long consultation was launched in April to gauge how parents would feel about Ravenstone Primary joining the Wandle Learning Trust.

A joint letter by co-chairpersons of Ravenstone Board of Governors, Rebecca Huggins and Andrew Cox as well as headteacher Joe Croft was sent out to parents and posted on the school's website.

It outlined why the school was looking to make the change.

"We are considering becoming an academy because we think doing so could bring some real benefits to your children," it read.

"No decisions have been made at this stage, and this letter is to set out some information and get your thoughts on the opportunity." But not all think the move is all it is cracked up to be.

One parent with a child at a school - who requested to remain anonymous - said the school had a history of not listening to what people want.

"At the end of last year a consultation went through and was voted on to see if uniforms should be implemented," the parent said.

 "65% voted against, but they decided to implement it anyway which will come into place this September.

"The school told us they had been discussing it (academy merger) for more than a year.

 "So why have they only given us a six-week consultation, with some of that being taken up by the Easter break?"

When those concerns were put to Ravenstone, Mr Croft said they are open to any and all comments.

"Ravenstone’s leadership team and governors will always do what is best for the school and the children, so we are exploring options for the best way to do this in the future," he said.

"After careful analysis, we have decided to consult our community about the opportunity to join the Wandle Learning Trust.

"We are fully committed to being open and transparent throughout this process, and to listening carefully to the wide diversity of perspectives of our wonderful community, so that everyone involved has the information they need to understand and contribute to this important decision."

But the anonymous parent said any academy merger could bring a halt to that familiar feel.

"The face of it is now changing and a lot of people are concerned they are treating the school like a business.

"It appears the decision will be made before summer term and it seems they want to do this without proper parent involvement."

The consultation is due to end on May 10.

Does this story affect you? What are your views on Academies?
Attachments
203261732.jpg.gallery.jpg
Post Reply
Mumof2boys1
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2015
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Parents concerned as Ravenstone School plans to become an Academy

Postby Mumof2boys1 » Mon May 13, 2019 6:42 am

As a parent at Ravenstone who has attended the academisation meetings and spoken to the governors this is a genuine consultation. The time limit has been extended so that parents can be given more information and more time to consider.

These at difficult times for schools and funding. The governors are genuinely considering what are the best options for the future and involving the parents in this. Many of whom have very legitimate and strongly held concerns, including myself. However to suggest this is simply about turning the school into a business is disingenuous.

It is worth pointing out that the statement that 65% voted against a school uniform is incorrect. It was a 50/50 split. As far as I’m aware the school took the decision to introduce a uniform to make it more appealing to prospective parents. Many of these feel having a uniform is important and fundamentally the school needs to be full to get all the funding it can. The new school uniform will be a simple sweatshirt and polo shirt and not anything extensive.

Parents and kids love Ravenstone. It’s a great school. However sometimes things may need to change and we have to be receptive to conversations about that. I feel strongly that the school and the governors are taking the parent’s concerns into account and are taking the time to respond and provide additional information.

For the record personally I am instinctively against the school becoming an academy but I’m willing to hear the arguments and enter into the discussion. The decisions that need to be made in this environment for schools are hard ones so the communities involved need to be open to constructive conversations.
Post Reply
HappyWalrus
Posts: 11
Joined: Nov 2016
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Parents concerned as Ravenstone School plans to become an Academy

Postby HappyWalrus » Mon May 13, 2019 9:37 am

I'm also a parent at Ravenstone.  The original article posted here is a terrible misrepresentation of a wonderful school.  Even the headline is wrong: it says "parents" but only quotes a single person.   If the author had bothered to speak to a fair sample of people at Ravenstone, they'd have learned that the school is a brilliant community where parents, staff and children are all deeply engaged in important decisions. 

They'd also have learned that the head and governors have consulted extensively with parents about the possibility of joining the Wandle Educational Trust group of outstanding schools, and have repeatedly told parents that no decision has been made on joining.  I've had questions and queries and when I've raised them, I've always felt that the head and governors listened and engaged. 

The overall decision about becoming an academy is a complex and important one, which is why the school is being so deliberate about it.  I know the school leadership see advantages in joining Wandle, and I can see limitations in remaining under the control of Wandsworth Council.  I don't know what the final decision will be and I'm not 100% sure what I think it should be.  But I am 100% convinced that the decision will be taken in the proper way by people who are deeply serious, extremely professional and entirely committed to the best interests of the school and the children. 

For context, I've worked in commercial organisations that approach decisions of strategic change like this with far less seriousness and professionalism, and with a much less methodical approach. Ravenstone has many virtues -- community atmosphere, great site, wonderful sport -- which all flow from the fact that it has great leadership.  
Post Reply
Community Editor
Posts: 755
Joined: Sep 2018
Options:
Share this post on:

Re: Parents concerned as Ravenstone School plans to become an Academy

Postby Community Editor » Mon May 13, 2019 9:54 am

Thank you @mumof2boys1 and @happywalrus for your valuable input. It is clear that Ravenstone has a wonderfully supportive network of parents, kids, teachers and staff. Change is never easy but it sounds like the school is handling this with the time, care and consideration that the school community deserves.

And thank you for correcting the inconsistencies in reporting, it is important that the right information is conveyed. Apologies, the original post said that 65% voted against a school uniform - we've been told it was a 50/50 split.

If anyone else has been affected by the story or has any views or concerns, feel free to share - we have a wonderful community who are always happy to help.



 
Post Reply