Harris Foundation starts its charm offensive to Roke parents

The Harris Foundation, which has been handed hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds’ worth of public assets by being given Roke Primary by Michael Gove‘s Department for Education, has begun an attempt to smooch its way into the affections of the parents and staff.

Conservative party donor and carpet salesman Lord Harris: has been handed public assets at Roke Primary

Conservative party donor and carpet salesman Lord Harris: has been handed public assets at Roke Primary

The letter to Roke parents is from Sir Robin Bosher, the Harris Foundation’s director of primary education. Bish-Bosh-Basher hardly covered himself in glory in his mishandling of bogus consultations in a similar forced-through handover for a north London primary.

In his letter, Sir Robin appears to protest too much when he states that any academisation of the primary school would not prevent Roke from being a feeder school to local secondary Riddlesdown, rather than, as is broadly suspected, being used to bolster the intake at Harris Academy Purley Haling Manor.

Whether this letter is enough to overcome the distrust and suspicion of parents at Roke seems unlikely. But then, it also seems most unlikely that the “consultation process” will change anything from Gove and Harris’s determined outcome unless, perhaps, the parents are able to demonstrate that the Secretary of State has acted illegally in forcing a school that was not “failing” or underperforming to be forced into becoming an academy.

Here’s the letter…

Dear parents

We are emailing you together with the other parents who have so far contacted us about the Department of Education’s decision to ask us to be ‘preferred sponsor’ of Roke as an Academy.

We are very conscious that we have not yet had the opportunity to meet and that many of you have questions you would like to ask. Although the decision about whether or not Roke becomes an Academy rests with the DfE, we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about the Harris Federation and show you what our schools are like.

We do respect the right of everyone involved to have differing opinions and views – and we appreciate that even once we have met, you might still disagree with our proposals. However, we feel it is right for you to come into our schools so that you can see for yourselves what our charity is about.

We are also conscious that, through nobody’s fault, there is a lot of misleading information being circulated. We can understand why, if some of these rumours were true, they would upset and worry parents – for example, it is completely untrue that we would end the feeder school relationship with Riddlesdown. Whatever your views on the Harris Federation, we would like these to be formed on fact rather than rumour which is another reason why we would welcome the opportunity to sit down and talk with you.

There will be formal consultation meetings in March but a number of you have already asked if you could visit our schools. We are keen to arrange this and would suggest the afternoon of Monday 4th March, which is the first day back after half term.

If you would be interested in doing so, I would be grateful if you could let me know within the next few days (ideally by next Tuesday 19th February) so that we have time to arrange transportation for you.

I have copied in Mr Farquharson, Chair of Governors and the parents involved with the ‘Save Roke’ campaign using the email address provided on their website.

Please do forward this email on to other parents and carers whose contact details we do not have, or feel free to publish it on your website so that everyone has an opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to participate.

Yours sincerely

Sir Robin Bosher

An interview with a leading figure from the Save Roke campaign will feature on the Croydon Matters programme on Croydon Radio from 3pm this Sunday.

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4 Responses to Harris Foundation starts its charm offensive to Roke parents

  1. Please support us and sign the Save Roke petition to stop it being privatised and handed over to Carpetright salesman, Lord Harris.


    Check our our website http://www.saveroke.co.uk

  2. anncreighton says:

    A few years ago I attended a ‘consultation’ about whether another secondary schoold should become an academy.

    A number of the school’s older students attended and like many in the audience thought there would be a discussion after which a decsion would be taken. In fact, it was nothing more than Harris staff saying how they intended to run the school when they took it over.

    I was sorry to see the students disilusioned. No wonder so many people are cynical about consultations – they are nothing of the sort. Just a fig leaf to cover done deals.

  3. Chas Spain says:

    Wow – sounds just like the good old days when the turf was divided up to the gentry – ‘Dear Bill, Frightfully good war last week, thanks so much for giving me all of Northumbria for my trouble -here’s a bit of money for the campaign’ …. etc. (Imagine if the some Labour Party donor strolled into Eton and said ‘right, on the basis of the output from our nimbo-numbo machine we’ve worked out that you’re actually all a bunch of under-performing tossers and so our Lord Wallaby Stitch is coming in to run you properly from next Wednesday…’ If the community don’t feel empowered to claim the school as THEIR ASSET and the parents claim it as THEIR school for THEIR children and not some political football it will be terrible. I truly feel for the students and parents.

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