Darwen school faces forced academy status

This Is Lancashire: Darwen school faces forced academy status Darwen school faces forced academy status

A FAILING school is being forced to become an academy.

Darwen Vale High is the first secondary school in East Lancashire to be told it has to make the move.

The decision by the Government comes after it received the worst possible rating from inspectors in August. But furious union chiefs have criticised the Department for Education decision, which has only been used in ‘a very small number of cases’ across the country, and claimed the school was unfairly treated by Ofsted.

They argued inspectors had a clear agenda to fail the school, paving the way for it to become another academy, in order to comply with Michael Gove’s mission to break up and privatise local authority education.

Angry governers, who have also vowed to continue to fight the decision, last night refused a suggestion from the Department for Education that it become the latest Aldridge Foundation sponsored school.

The organisation already runs the town’s only other secondary school Darwen Aldridge Community Academy.

Bosses at Blackburn with Darwen Council have also pledged they will not allow the Government to ‘bully’ them into accepting its preferred sponsor.

Council leader Coun Kate Hollern said: “The school has made great improvements recently.

“If it does become an academy, the people of Darwen should have a choice and not be forced to go to a school run by one organisation.”

The Lancashire Telegraph understands the governors favour Blackburn Diocese as the school sponsor.

Headteacher Fiona Jack, who came to the school in January last year following concerns management was failing to back up teachers when disciplining unruly pupils, said: “We are working extremely hard to continue our journey of improvement and would expect to be a critical part of any decision about the best way to move our school forward.

“At the very least we would expect there to be opportunities for staff, parents and pupils to be consulted rather than having a decision forced on us.

“I will continue to push to be part of the dialogue but in the interim, we will continue to strive for excellence to ensure that Darwen Vale remains a school that pupils are proud to attend.”

If the change to an academy was to go ahead, it would mean all staff contracts being transferred from the council to the new sponsors.

It would also mean just four of the borough’s 10 secondary schools remained within the council’s remit.

Unions said they had not ruled out balloting their members for strike action to oppose the forced change of employer.

Simon Jones, NUT executive member, labelled the Government ‘bullies’ for trying to force academy status on the school.

He said: “Darwen Vale is a good school that is already improving rapidly.

“The school has many dedicated, loyal and inspirational teachers.

“I believe the bullies from the DfE have seriously underestimated the resolve of union members and the local community.

“We will fight a very vigorous campaign to save the school from being forced into the hands of private sponsors.”

John Girdley, NASUWT executive member, said: “If the DfE gets its way a predatory southern based academy chain will take over Darwen Vale to run it for profit and the children and staff will be the losers.”

Kathy Eagar, Association of Teachers and Lecturers executive member, said: “The dangers of Vale becoming an academy would be the potential impact to our local children and young people.

“The local authority ensures the provision of services such as behaviour support, child and adolescent health and social care as well as training and professional development for staff.

“The removal of this support is a serious cause for concern.”

Last year the school re-opened following a BSF £24million rebuild of its site in Blackburn Road, making it one of the most modern in the county.

Darwen MP Jake Berry said parents didn’t care about whether or not a school was an academy or local authority controlled, as long as it provided a good enough education.

He said: “The new headteacher has already made some really good progress at Darwen Vale.

“But I do not think parents in Darwen care about whether the school is an academy or not. They care about the education of their children.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “The Secretary of State does have the power to intervene and establish an Interim Executive Board (IEB) where results continue to cause real concern but this is a last resort and has only been used on a very small number of cases.”

Nobody at The Aldridge Foundation was available to comment.

Comments (25)

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11:54am Tue 3 Dec 13

Mellor Reader says...

Government are playing games with our chidrens education. Is there to be no choice for the students of Darwen ? But what do they care. Just another school miles away that becomes a tick in a box and a favour given to a cronie.

It seens that every time the team at Vale take a step forward, someone is there to kick them down again. This must be fought.
Government are playing games with our chidrens education. Is there to be no choice for the students of Darwen ? But what do they care. Just another school miles away that becomes a tick in a box and a favour given to a cronie. It seens that every time the team at Vale take a step forward, someone is there to kick them down again. This must be fought. Mellor Reader

12:49pm Tue 3 Dec 13

djt says...

To Jake Berry, I am a parent who has just had to make my choice for my daughters secondrary school and I have choosen Darwen Vale because it isn't an academy. so despite your "I said it so it must be true" attitude some parents in Darwen do care if their childrens school is an academy or not ! The parents of Darwen should be allowed the choice which you and your government are denying us.
To Jake Berry, I am a parent who has just had to make my choice for my daughters secondrary school and I have choosen Darwen Vale because it isn't an academy. so despite your "I said it so it must be true" attitude some parents in Darwen do care if their childrens school is an academy or not ! The parents of Darwen should be allowed the choice which you and your government are denying us. djt

1:25pm Tue 3 Dec 13

King Fabulous says...

With all the money and resources that have been given to Vale over the last few years it is utterly astonishing that this needs to be done, Instead of blaming the Government for all their ills the teachers and their union should take a good look at what they have managed to (or in this case failed to) achieve, The Local Education Authority has failed yet again and now someone has to clear up their mess before it impacts on children's education, Jake Berry and the Department for Education are absolutely correct.
With all the money and resources that have been given to Vale over the last few years it is utterly astonishing that this needs to be done, Instead of blaming the Government for all their ills the teachers and their union should take a good look at what they have managed to (or in this case failed to) achieve, The Local Education Authority has failed yet again and now someone has to clear up their mess before it impacts on children's education, Jake Berry and the Department for Education are absolutely correct. King Fabulous

3:09pm Tue 3 Dec 13

rovers2008 says...

Why did anyone believe that a new building will improve the school's results. The school's results were already in decline because of a series of head teacher and staffing changes (remember the strike?) and what seemed a lack of leadership since their headteacher Mrs Dunning sadly passed away.

Academy status and what seems like unlimited investment have helped DACA (Mr Adlridge's project) reach the standards they are currently achieving. Perhaps Academy status and all it brings with it wont be too bad?
Why did anyone believe that a new building will improve the school's results. The school's results were already in decline because of a series of head teacher and staffing changes (remember the strike?) and what seemed a lack of leadership since their headteacher Mrs Dunning sadly passed away. Academy status and what seems like unlimited investment have helped DACA (Mr Adlridge's project) reach the standards they are currently achieving. Perhaps Academy status and all it brings with it wont be too bad? rovers2008

3:35pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Little Diamond says...

I have to ask King Fabulous and rovers2008. How do you know? Is your opinion based on real evidence, or what you have heard?
I have to ask King Fabulous and rovers2008. How do you know? Is your opinion based on real evidence, or what you have heard? Little Diamond

3:51pm Tue 3 Dec 13

King Fabulous says...

Little Diamond wrote:
I have to ask King Fabulous and rovers2008. How do you know? Is your opinion based on real evidence, or what you have heard?
Insider knowledge.....
[quote][p][bold]Little Diamond[/bold] wrote: I have to ask King Fabulous and rovers2008. How do you know? Is your opinion based on real evidence, or what you have heard?[/p][/quote]Insider knowledge..... King Fabulous

4:00pm Tue 3 Dec 13

hasslem hasslem says...

King Fabulous wrote:
With all the money and resources that have been given to Vale over the last few years it is utterly astonishing that this needs to be done, Instead of blaming the Government for all their ills the teachers and their union should take a good look at what they have managed to (or in this case failed to) achieve, The Local Education Authority has failed yet again and now someone has to clear up their mess before it impacts on children's education, Jake Berry and the Department for Education are absolutely correct.
What utter nonsense and a perfect demonstration of complete ignorance of what has gone on here.

Vale has not been a good school all the time in recent years (some good, some bad) but the school's recent under-performance has largely been down to a relocation up into the old Moorland building which caused major disruption and then the calamatous appointment of a dreadful head teacher who almost single-handedly ruined the school by a series of appalling decisions.

The new team has been in place at vale for a very short time and the OFSTED report largely reflects the old regime - NOT THE NEW ONE. Everybody I have spoken to in regard of the new school and the team speaks in glowing terms about the pace of the improvements in the school.

Handing over the keys to Aldridge is a cheap political decision and an underhand move to transfer more of the state sector to a quasi-privatised sector. Taxpayers money has gone into financing the building of this new school and the private sector will be the ones that stand to benefit.

Shame on you Gove, shame on you Berry. Mr Berry when you spout your garbled rhetoric - you continue to look and sound a numpty - with or without the 'tache.
[quote][p][bold]King Fabulous[/bold] wrote: With all the money and resources that have been given to Vale over the last few years it is utterly astonishing that this needs to be done, Instead of blaming the Government for all their ills the teachers and their union should take a good look at what they have managed to (or in this case failed to) achieve, The Local Education Authority has failed yet again and now someone has to clear up their mess before it impacts on children's education, Jake Berry and the Department for Education are absolutely correct.[/p][/quote]What utter nonsense and a perfect demonstration of complete ignorance of what has gone on here. Vale has not been a good school all the time in recent years (some good, some bad) but the school's recent under-performance has largely been down to a relocation up into the old Moorland building which caused major disruption and then the calamatous appointment of a dreadful head teacher who almost single-handedly ruined the school by a series of appalling decisions. The new team has been in place at vale for a very short time and the OFSTED report largely reflects the old regime - NOT THE NEW ONE. Everybody I have spoken to in regard of the new school and the team speaks in glowing terms about the pace of the improvements in the school. Handing over the keys to Aldridge is a cheap political decision and an underhand move to transfer more of the state sector to a quasi-privatised sector. Taxpayers money has gone into financing the building of this new school and the private sector will be the ones that stand to benefit. Shame on you Gove, shame on you Berry. Mr Berry when you spout your garbled rhetoric - you continue to look and sound a numpty - with or without the 'tache. hasslem hasslem

5:37pm Tue 3 Dec 13

louderfasterlonger says...

Jake Berry's patronising comments get better and better. Not long ago he told people using Foodbanks that they only use them because the Jobcentre staff have told them they exist.
Today he is telling Darwen parents that they are not capable of making informed choices about their children's education. Classic Jake !
Jake Berry's patronising comments get better and better. Not long ago he told people using Foodbanks that they only use them because the Jobcentre staff have told them they exist. Today he is telling Darwen parents that they are not capable of making informed choices about their children's education. Classic Jake ! louderfasterlonger

5:42pm Tue 3 Dec 13

noddy57 says...

stop playing politics with children,s lives,
stop playing politics with children,s lives, noddy57

5:53pm Tue 3 Dec 13

phil kernot says...

Am I getting this right bsf paid for the rebuild , but the school will be run like a business and targets have to be archived like in the real world , , sounds fair or do some teachers feel threatened stepping in to the real world , now the job for life and pension scheme is coming to a end , ,,, just saying it how it seems looking from the outside ...:)
Am I getting this right bsf paid for the rebuild , but the school will be run like a business and targets have to be archived like in the real world , , sounds fair or do some teachers feel threatened stepping in to the real world , now the job for life and pension scheme is coming to a end , ,,, just saying it how it seems looking from the outside ...:) phil kernot

6:01pm Tue 3 Dec 13

N4you! says...

whats next?
pay for education (primary or secondary)

welcome to modern day slavery which goes unnoticed
whats next? pay for education (primary or secondary) welcome to modern day slavery which goes unnoticed N4you!

9:12pm Tue 3 Dec 13

karltop says...

louderfasterlonger wrote:
Jake Berry's patronising comments get better and better. Not long ago he told people using Foodbanks that they only use them because the Jobcentre staff have told them they exist.
Today he is telling Darwen parents that they are not capable of making informed choices about their children's education. Classic Jake !
Darwen "parents". What a joke. This board is full of lefty teachers sticking up for themselves. Rubbish, Leftie, Labour borough = rubbish education. And that's a FACT.
[quote][p][bold]louderfasterlonger[/bold] wrote: Jake Berry's patronising comments get better and better. Not long ago he told people using Foodbanks that they only use them because the Jobcentre staff have told them they exist. Today he is telling Darwen parents that they are not capable of making informed choices about their children's education. Classic Jake ![/p][/quote]Darwen "parents". What a joke. This board is full of lefty teachers sticking up for themselves. Rubbish, Leftie, Labour borough = rubbish education. And that's a FACT. karltop

9:13pm Tue 3 Dec 13

karltop says...

N4you! wrote:
whats next?
pay for education (primary or secondary)

welcome to modern day slavery which goes unnoticed
"we" already pay for it, so that would be nothing new.
[quote][p][bold]N4you![/bold] wrote: whats next? pay for education (primary or secondary) welcome to modern day slavery which goes unnoticed[/p][/quote]"we" already pay for it, so that would be nothing new. karltop

9:15pm Tue 3 Dec 13

karltop says...

“The school has many dedicated, loyal and inspirational teachers."

Sacked all the old failures, have they?
“The school has many dedicated, loyal and inspirational teachers." Sacked all the old failures, have they? karltop

9:18pm Tue 3 Dec 13

karltop says...

Has anyone seen the recently published OECD figures? Anyone care to comment on how great and inspirational these so-called teachers are?!!!!!
Has anyone seen the recently published OECD figures? Anyone care to comment on how great and inspirational these so-called teachers are?!!!!! karltop

9:23pm Tue 3 Dec 13

karltop says...

louderfasterlonger wrote:
Jake Berry's patronising comments get better and better. Not long ago he told people using Foodbanks that they only use them because the Jobcentre staff have told them they exist.
Today he is telling Darwen parents that they are not capable of making informed choices about their children's education. Classic Jake !
And was he wrong? Do you have proof? Do you know how to make a food bank (that was established under the previous leftist government) busier?
[quote][p][bold]louderfasterlonger[/bold] wrote: Jake Berry's patronising comments get better and better. Not long ago he told people using Foodbanks that they only use them because the Jobcentre staff have told them they exist. Today he is telling Darwen parents that they are not capable of making informed choices about their children's education. Classic Jake ![/p][/quote]And was he wrong? Do you have proof? Do you know how to make a food bank (that was established under the previous leftist government) busier? karltop

9:41pm Tue 3 Dec 13

karltop says...

noddy57 wrote:
stop playing politics with children,s lives,
Looks like your "education" was worthwhile.... Point proven.
[quote][p][bold]noddy57[/bold] wrote: stop playing politics with children,s lives,[/p][/quote]Looks like your "education" was worthwhile.... Point proven. karltop

11:24pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Pyewacket2 says...

Well, we've got more weasel words from Cllr Hollern there, as leader of a Council that willingly has climbed into bed with the Crapita Organisation ! Has handed over nearly all the Council strategic departments over to this outsourcing company, and bent over backwards to let them have their way, despite their failings and incompetence. They even fixed it to have a perfectly good swathe of privately owned homes in Darwen to be demolished to make way for DACA. anyone remember the Sunnyhurst triangle, and the dirty tricks that were played ? Further, when a review was requested to investigated whether the transfer of Council services to Crapita represented Value for money, it was not allowed by Cllr Hollern's Council due to commercial confidentiality !!

Darwen is within a Tory constituency, and Jake is a Tory MP, he will do what he's told if he wants to climb higher up the greasy pole.

Its already decided, if you're a teacher at Vale, be afraid, be very afraid.
Well, we've got more weasel words from Cllr Hollern there, as leader of a Council that willingly has climbed into bed with the Crapita Organisation ! Has handed over nearly all the Council strategic departments over to this outsourcing company, and bent over backwards to let them have their way, despite their failings and incompetence. They even fixed it to have a perfectly good swathe of privately owned homes in Darwen to be demolished to make way for DACA. anyone remember the Sunnyhurst triangle, and the dirty tricks that were played ? Further, when a review was requested to investigated whether the transfer of Council services to Crapita represented Value for money, it was not allowed by Cllr Hollern's Council due to commercial confidentiality !! Darwen is within a Tory constituency, and Jake is a Tory MP, he will do what he's told if he wants to climb higher up the greasy pole. Its already decided, if you're a teacher at Vale, be afraid, be very afraid. Pyewacket2

11:54pm Tue 3 Dec 13

fireonthemountain says...

So let's look at Jake Berry's comment -

-------

"Darwen MP Jake Berry said parents didn’t care about whether or not a school was an academy or local authority controlled, as long as it provided a good enough education.

He said: “The new headteacher has already made some really good progress at Darwen Vale.

“But I do not think parents in Darwen care about whether the school is an academy or not. They care about the education of their children.”

-------

That sounds pretty good to me .

But all of a sudden the Unions get involved .
The leftie party ,
All those council employees who are on fat wages
and expenses .
AKA communists .

Lets look at this a bit further shall we ?

- the new sports centre - what a waste of money .
- the new health centre - pointless and inaccessable by foot .
- the academy on sudell road , why exactly ? desrtroyed a perfectly
good community and a number of small businesses .
- the money wasted on the vale .

There's a hundred million down the drain .

All down to Labour .
Thanks very much Gordon Brown .

Personally , i would forbid anyone who supports Liebour from
voting ever again , on the grounds of mental incompetence .
So let's look at Jake Berry's comment - ------- "Darwen MP Jake Berry said parents didn’t care about whether or not a school was an academy or local authority controlled, as long as it provided a good enough education. He said: “The new headteacher has already made some really good progress at Darwen Vale. “But I do not think parents in Darwen care about whether the school is an academy or not. They care about the education of their children.” ------- That sounds pretty good to me . But all of a sudden the Unions get involved . The leftie party , All those council employees who are on fat wages and expenses . AKA communists . Lets look at this a bit further shall we ? - the new sports centre - what a waste of money . - the new health centre - pointless and inaccessable by foot . - the academy on sudell road , why exactly ? desrtroyed a perfectly good community and a number of small businesses . - the money wasted on the vale . There's a hundred million down the drain . All down to Labour . Thanks very much Gordon Brown . Personally , i would forbid anyone who supports Liebour from voting ever again , on the grounds of mental incompetence . fireonthemountain

12:01am Wed 4 Dec 13

Pyewacket2 says...

Another point: Vale's re-furb was doe under BSF, so if it does become an Academy, just who picks up the financial liability for that ?
Another point: Vale's re-furb was doe under BSF, so if it does become an Academy, just who picks up the financial liability for that ? Pyewacket2

4:50pm Wed 4 Dec 13

sean_brfc says...

How else would you have spent the money fireonthemountain? Or would you rather it was put in the pockets of the already wealthy? Darwen now has state of the art public buildings; it just needs the state of the art teaching staff to fill them.
How else would you have spent the money fireonthemountain? Or would you rather it was put in the pockets of the already wealthy? Darwen now has state of the art public buildings; it just needs the state of the art teaching staff to fill them. sean_brfc

11:47pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Lancs Away says...

Eeeee, wasn't like that in my day....
Eeeee, wasn't like that in my day.... Lancs Away

1:52am Thu 5 Dec 13

fireonthemountain says...

sean_brfc , "how else would I have spent the money?"

Well , I would not have spent it at all .

As -

1 - it has achieved nothing of value . Quite the reverse .
2 - What money ? Borrowed ? Oh wonderful , my grandkids have to pay
it back , With interest .

Meanwhile , we have pensioners who have worked and paid taxes all
their lives , now worrying about how to pay their Council Tax .

For what exactly ?

For useless council employees in their ivory towers , having meetings , to discuss dedicated bus lanes ? On expenses of course . Who can't even fill in pot holes that infest Darwen . Plenty of money for yet more
car-destroying-speed
-bumps , naturally .

I take it you work for the Council .

Not as a genuine worker of course .

Not one of the hard-working peolpe who empty our bins .
Not as a teacher or paramedic , fire fighter etc .

But as a pension-protected-pe
n-pusher-on-£35,000 + .

How do you sleep at night ?
sean_brfc , "how else would I have spent the money?" Well , I would not have spent it at all . As - 1 - it has achieved nothing of value . Quite the reverse . 2 - What money ? Borrowed ? Oh wonderful , my grandkids have to pay it back , With interest . Meanwhile , we have pensioners who have worked and paid taxes all their lives , now worrying about how to pay their Council Tax . For what exactly ? For useless council employees in their ivory towers , having meetings , to discuss dedicated bus lanes ? On expenses of course . Who can't even fill in pot holes that infest Darwen . Plenty of money for yet more car-destroying-speed -bumps , naturally . I take it you work for the Council . Not as a genuine worker of course . Not one of the hard-working peolpe who empty our bins . Not as a teacher or paramedic , fire fighter etc . But as a pension-protected-pe n-pusher-on-£35,000 + . How do you sleep at night ? fireonthemountain

4:10am Fri 6 Dec 13

A Local Lad says...

Its a school and at the heart of all decisions should be the kids.
Its obviously failing or else it wouldn't have got the Ofsted grade it got and if the aldridge foundation are doing a good job then why not ??????

Just saying !
Its a school and at the heart of all decisions should be the kids. Its obviously failing or else it wouldn't have got the Ofsted grade it got and if the aldridge foundation are doing a good job then why not ?????? Just saying ! A Local Lad

8:05pm Fri 6 Dec 13

King Fabulous says...

fireonthemountain wrote:
So let's look at Jake Berry's comment -

-------

"Darwen MP Jake Berry said parents didn’t care about whether or not a school was an academy or local authority controlled, as long as it provided a good enough education.

He said: “The new headteacher has already made some really good progress at Darwen Vale.

“But I do not think parents in Darwen care about whether the school is an academy or not. They care about the education of their children.”

-------

That sounds pretty good to me .

But all of a sudden the Unions get involved .
The leftie party ,
All those council employees who are on fat wages
and expenses .
AKA communists .

Lets look at this a bit further shall we ?

- the new sports centre - what a waste of money .
- the new health centre - pointless and inaccessable by foot .
- the academy on sudell road , why exactly ? desrtroyed a perfectly
good community and a number of small businesses .
- the money wasted on the vale .

There's a hundred million down the drain .

All down to Labour .
Thanks very much Gordon Brown .

Personally , i would forbid anyone who supports Liebour from
voting ever again , on the grounds of mental incompetence .
Wise wise words, Only the 'something for nothing' whingey leftie rabble would disagree...
[quote][p][bold]fireonthemountain[/bold] wrote: So let's look at Jake Berry's comment - ------- "Darwen MP Jake Berry said parents didn’t care about whether or not a school was an academy or local authority controlled, as long as it provided a good enough education. He said: “The new headteacher has already made some really good progress at Darwen Vale. “But I do not think parents in Darwen care about whether the school is an academy or not. They care about the education of their children.” ------- That sounds pretty good to me . But all of a sudden the Unions get involved . The leftie party , All those council employees who are on fat wages and expenses . AKA communists . Lets look at this a bit further shall we ? - the new sports centre - what a waste of money . - the new health centre - pointless and inaccessable by foot . - the academy on sudell road , why exactly ? desrtroyed a perfectly good community and a number of small businesses . - the money wasted on the vale . There's a hundred million down the drain . All down to Labour . Thanks very much Gordon Brown . Personally , i would forbid anyone who supports Liebour from voting ever again , on the grounds of mental incompetence .[/p][/quote]Wise wise words, Only the 'something for nothing' whingey leftie rabble would disagree... King Fabulous

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