Darwen Vale: Anger at claim parents’ spoken views won’t count

Darwen Vale: Anger at claim parents’ spoken views won’t count

Darwen Vale: Anger at claim parents’ spoken views won’t count

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Education reporter

VERBAL comments made by parents over a school’s forced academisation will not feature in the consultation report, it has been claimed.

Union leaders say opinions voiced at public drop-in sessions at Darwen Vale High School are to be excluded from the final report to the Department for Education.

Local representatives of the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers claim parents have ‘wasted their time’ attending meetings and giving verbal comments.

Union leaders said the sessions were billed on the school’s website as opportunities to give feedback, but paperwork had to be requested and the sessions were mainly run as verbal ‘fact-finding’ events.

Darwen Vale High held the final public consultation earlier this month as part of the academisation process enforced by the Government after the school received an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report.

The consultation is being run by private company Local Dialogue over plans for the Aldridge Foundation to become the academy sponsors.

Claire Ward, a Darwen Vale teacher and the regional representative for NASUWT said: “While paying lipservice to a process, it won’t take in anyone else’s viewpoint.”

Blackburn and Lancashire’s NUT leader Simon Jones said the consultation was ignoring the wishes of the town. He said: “When I was at one of the sessions, there were 50 parents all opposed to the academisation of the school. I have been told all the other sessions were the same.

“Now the company says that none of those opinions will be included. We are calling for a democratic and transparent ballot that takes the community’s wishes into account.”

A spokeswoman for Local Dialogue said comments from forms and online feedback would feature in the final report to the education secretary.

She said: “The community were offered multiple opportunities to comment on the consultation through the online and hard copy forms. At every drop-in event there were hard copy feedback forms for people to fill in. We’re now preparing a report that will shortly be issued to the DfE, which will provide a quantitive analysis of all feedback received, both through the paper forms and online.”

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