Ebrington Closure 1

Ebrington Closure National Review Panel Report – NASS Summary

pdfLink to the full 124 page report (1.81MB)

The Reason the Evidence Review was Commissioned

In October 2015, Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Member of Parliament for The Cotswolds, became concerned at the level of tension in the North Cotswolds between parents of pupils attending Ebrington School; local communities; the Diocese of Gloucester; Town and Parish Councils and the Governing Body of the school.

The tension had resulted from the proposal by the Governing Body to close Ebrington School, which it is claimed forms part of a federation established in 1981 with St James’ School in Chipping Campden. This claim is challenged by the current Headteacher and the Governing Body. The tension had intensified in part due to a lack of information about the rationale for the proposed closure, combined with some misunderstandings about the process followed to establish the Federation.

Mr Clifton-Brown believed that the situation required some clarification. To this end he invited Dr Ian H Jones to conduct an independent, detailed and rigorous review. Mr Clifton-Brown’s aim was that the Review would clarify once and for all the historical and legal position of the Federation and provide a clearer understanding of the proposed closure. He contended that once these matters were clarified and understood by all parties, it would be possible for those involved to work together to provide the very best educational opportunities for all the pupils and thereby promote high standards of educational achievement.

The Nature and Scope of the Review

The Review is not a statutory enquiry or inspection. No-one, either as an individual or a member of an organisation, has been compelled by law to participate. The Review was designed to collect evidence from a wide range of sources, including all Interested Parties. It has considered statutory and non-statutory documentation, as well as evidence collected from regulatory bodies, adjudication authorities, independent organisations and individuals. Where relevant, evidence has been gathered from professional sources including HMI/OFSTED, the Department for Education, local authorities, the Office for National Statistics and published data and reports. To produce a robust, detailed and reliable evidence base, the process has included sufficient flexibility to enable it to follow unexpected evidence trails. The evidence was required to be sufficient in detail to report, but not exclusively, on:

i. The formation of the ‘Federation’ in 1980 and 1981; (1944 and 1980 Education Acts);

ii. The legal changes since 1944 and 1980 Education Acts that may have influence upon its current status;

iii. The historical development of the school(s) statutory policies for management and administration;

iv. The procedural and statutory requirements relating to the proposal to reorganise the school(s), giving appropriate regard to current legislation and guidance;

v. The rationale and feasibility of the proposal to reorganise the school(s).

The Review Team

To facilitate the task, Dr Jones established a team to conduct the review. The Review Team was selected to provide a mix of knowledge, skills and experience to fulfil the requirements of the Review. In addition to the Team set out below, a number of professional consultants provided specific expert advice where required and statutory bodies were consulted as appropriate.