- Article Information
- Category: Current Campaigns
- Written by Mervyn Benford
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NASS continues to express concern about the powers of umbrella academies to threaten the viability of their constituent schools. We are also urging the DfE not to delay issuing their planned new guidance on procedures for closing schools, procedures we wish to see applying to all schools not just those still within the Local Authority remit. In relation to long experience, and a further new case, we are asking the relevant Parliamentary Select Committee for an investigation of the way the Local Government Ombudsman network treats complaints using principles and attitudes that are themselves as unfair as those one is complaining about on the part of Local Authorities
We continue to argue a case for small schools to be the basis of provision, albeit networked under single governance and leadership, in urban areas, particularly at a time when wilful ignoring of rising birth-rate in the preceding decade is bringing massive demand for pupil places and provision largely by bolted on expansion of existing schools. This campaign includes arguing for the entire economics of school provision to be more thoroughly analysed for its longer-term truths. We believe that the commitment to large scale long-term costs more and is less effective.
We are meeting National Society leaders in a renewed attempt to secure some agreed fundamental guidance asserting the facts about small schools for individual diocesan education boards to consider when proposing closures or responding to Local Authority closures as we find the actual practice at times almost as chalk and cheese, often just across a county border.
We are urging small schools to register all pupils claiming free school meals in an attempt to secure the now £900 pupil premium for such children. We report a Lincolnshire situation where upwards of £3.6m is not being claimed. We recognise rural family reluctance to claim and are asking Government to follow Ofsted example and pay according to entitlement rather than take-up.