Oval Primary parents offered “bribe” to stay at academy school

Parents of children at Oval Primary school last night met staff from ARK, the academy specialists who look set to take over the running of the East Croydon school in September. One parent described as a “bribe” the new staff’s offer of free uniforms for those pupils whose parents do not transfer them.

When the changeover happens, it means that Croydon Council will have overseen five different head teachers at the school in little more than six months.

But with Tim Pollard, the deputy leader of Croydon’s ruling Conservative group, having to juggle his workload for children, young people and learners with his recently added responsibilities for business and regeneration, farming schools out of council control might seem like the sensible option to him.

Pollard has never apologised to Oval Primary parents, pupils and teachers for the mismanagement of the school in February, when the established headteacher was forced out of her job and a school federation from Lambeth was parachuted in with no notice.

Some parents remain angry about the way that the council has handled the school and their children, and the transparently obvious manner in which academy status has been pursued by Pollard and the council’s education department.

For no capital costs, ARK will get use of Oval Primary’s impressive-looking buildings, and receive the school’s annual budget direct from the education department, bypassing any involvement from the local council. At last night’s meeting, parents were told that the school will be needlessly renamed the Ark Bayes Academy, after the 18th century mathematician Thomas Bayes, who has no known connection with Croydon.

With several parents openly considering removing their children from the school if it takes academy status, ARK’s response was to offer free school uniforms to all pupils. One parent described this as a “bribe”.

Parents are also concerned at ARK’s record, suggesting that as many as two of the schools that it already manages in other London boroughs are also on “special measures” after critical reports by Ofsted inspectors. ARK has offered to hold open days at its schools for Oval parents by way of reassurance – a vast improvement, it must be said, on the complete lack of any consultation by Croydon and the Gipsy Hill Federation when they were brought into Oval in February, and they lasted less than 48 hours.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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2 Responses to Oval Primary parents offered “bribe” to stay at academy school

  1. ARK Schools says:

    For the record ARK runs eight academies, six in London, one in Portsmouth and one in Birmingham. Two have been graded Outstanding by Ofsted, and all the rest bar one graded good, several with outstanding capacity to improve. None are or have been in special measures since being taken over by ARK. ARK Schools is the academy sponsor with the most successful improvement in GCSE achievement. Of its primary schools two out of three are outstanding and the third is good.

  2. As a parent of two children that go to oval i think that this could be a great fresh start for oval and i myself am looking forward to what the school has in store for all the children if people stopped being so closed minded and looked at it from other angles then may be they would see that the fact that the school was failing shows that things need to change i have read articles on here were parents have placed there negtive attitude on what is happening at oval first and foremost the fact fact that oval is a failing school should show you that the school was failing your child any way so stop being so ignorant and look forward to a brighter and high standard of education

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