Parents hope to inspire other schools after academy victory (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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'Failing' school's success should be an inspiration for others, say parents
Parents who successfully campaigned to stop a ‘failing’ primary school becoming an academy have said they hope they can inspire other schools in a similar situation.
Yesterday the Department of Education (DfE) announced Snaresbrook Primary School, in Meadow Walk, had made significant enough improvements to avoid it being forced to opt out of local authority control.
The school was placed in special measures in June following a damning Ofsted report, which rated it inadequate in all categories.
However, it now has the fourth best results for the age group in the borough.
Campaigners who backed the current school leadership were on the verge of delivering a petition signed by over 2,500 people to Downing Street when the announcement was made.
Campaigner Paul Daintry said: “It was such unexpected news and a complete turnaround from the DfE.
“We have a lot of praise for them for pushing through and recognising the progress the school has made, instead of bulldozering through with academy status which they could easily have done, but instead they backed down.
“I really hope it is a turning point and an inspiration for schools going through similar situations.
“I hope it proves to (Education Secretary) Michael Gove and the DfE that they need to be listening to parents and teachers and will make them see they need to give schools like us a chance.”
The parliamentary under-secretary of state for education, Lord John Nash, previously stated that a move to academy status would be the best solution for the school due to its “serious weaknesses.”
However, a parent-led campaign, supported by Redbridge Council and MP John Cryer, called for a rethink.
Mr Daintry said: “The quick turnaround by the DfE was made because this is school is not a bad school. After a couple of bad years it is well on its way back and currently has the fourth best results in the borough – something which had not been officially validated at the time of the Ofsted inspection in June.
“MPs and councillors from all parties and local and national press all contributed and made noise which the DfE could not ignore.”
Campaigner and parent, Claudia Martin, 39, said: “I am still in shock but really pleased with the decision. We want to thank everyone who helped this happen.
“Now hopefully the school can concentrate on teaching and coming out of special measures, which I know it will do.”
Cllr Richard Hoskins, who submitted the motion calling on the council to support the campaign, said: “I was with the parents and campaigners, waiting at the gates of Downing Street to present our petition when the news came through that the DfE had thrown in the towel and admitted defeat.
“Snaresbrook has been saved by the most dynamic group of parents I have ever had the privilege to campaign with.”
A rally due to take place on Friday in central London has now been cancelled.
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