LEYTONSTONE: School & council row over academy plans (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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LEYTONSTONE: School & council row over academy plans
A HEADTEACHER has said she does not trust Waltham Forest Council to safeguard the future of her school – as a row over its bid to become an academy deepens.
National Union of Teachers (NUT) staff members at Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone will strike for the second time in a month on Wednesday (October 24) over the controversial proposals - with governors holding a vote on the plans that same day.
If the school does become an academy it will break away from council control and receive all its funding direct from the government, giving it greater independence.
Governors and headteacher Ann Betts fear the council wants to merge Connaught with another school and believe that becoming an academy is the only way to guarantee its future as a small but popular all-girls school.
But parents have contacted the Guardian claiming they are confused because both the school and council accuse each other of making inaccurate statements about the implications of such a change.
The council says there are no plans to merge Connaught and states there will be no financial benefit to the school if it becomes an academy.
In a letter to the school, the council accused the Connaught leadership of including "misconceptions or inaccuracies" in a consultation document sent to parents.
But Ms Betts insists the council told her there were merger plans in the pipeline and that the school would receive an extra £97,000 by changing its status.
Ms Betts told the Guardian: "The authority hasn't got a particularly good track record with this school. We haven't got any renovations or rebuilding and our budget has been cut. We seem to be quite low down on their agenda.
"A lot of what the council says is not true. We don't trust the authority."
Leytonstone ward councillor Clyde Loakes waded into the row by sending copies of the council's letter to some parents, much to the school's annoyance.
Parent Tom Taylor, 59, who has a 13-year-old daughter at the school, told the Guardian: "The school and local authority are unable to agree between them on the basic facts.
"It's very concerning and many parents like myself want this cleared up and the consultation to be extended until we have some answers."
No-one from Waltham Forest NUT was available for comment.
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