Stories + Views
Reflections on the Priory…
Having campaigned for over a year against the raise of academies in Lincolnshire, I am surprised not to be getting more of a kick from the Priory scandal (the details of which are outlined by Fiona in an earlier post.)
The reasons for the deflation are varied. But as a Labour councillor, much of the bad taste is because this scandal has been created by the previous government and then simply nurtured by this one. I am sure Lord Adonis and co must be very proud of the cronies they have inflicted on the tax payers of Lincolnshire!
And then there are the unanswered questions still.
I have had former employees of the shamed and ousted chief executive state that he always had a questionable leadership style and that they were stunned when he was appointed exec of the Priory Federation. How was he appointed? Is it true that the shamed and then jailed former Tory leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Jim Speechly, introduced Gilliland to Lord Adonis? I have heard that it is and would love to find out more. (When we do corruption and scandal in Lincolnshire we do it well!)
How was the Priory EVER found to be outstanding in financial matters? Time and time again they passed external audits, but it is quite clear from the DE report that the corruption had been endemic from the start.
How on earth did was all of this allowed to happen behind the backs of trustees and governors? I am sick to the back teeth of governors who fail to challenge and question the decision making of head teachers and executives. In this new academy world there is no place for nodding dog governors.
There is one issue that makes me angrier than them all. The Priory was our first Lincolnshire academy. The extra money they were given under Labour was at the expense of other equally deserving schools, many of whom had the rug pulled from under them when BSF was scrapped. The injustice created by The Priory drove many of Lincoln secondaries to early conversion under the coalition as a way to address the imbalance, particularly when the extra early finance payments became fully understood. As the Lincoln schools fell, so the rest of the county followed, aided and abetted by CFBT at the helm of the county. Our locally controlled and democratically accountable education system has been dismantled on the basis of a corrupt foundation.
And now lets cut to the real scandal. Probably the greatest of them all. One of the Priory academies – Withern – has the second worst exam performance in the county.
I find the anti-academy case more than proven, your honour.