Cuckoo Hall: "Mismanagement by crony governance"

David Barry's picture
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BACKGROUND

This is the latest post about Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust. The previous post is here.

Criticism of Cuckoo Hall and the very particular management style of Patricia Sowter CBE which has included her telling falsehoods about her achievements, has been mounting for some time. See, for example Janet Downs' post here.

THE EDUCATION FUNDING AGENCY INVESTIGATES CUCKOO HALL ACADEMIES TRUST-

Things were subsequently brought to a head by an EFA report. It found that at Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust ( CHAT ) there had been falsification of safeguarding records, spending of money without proper records kept, nepotism and cronyism, an allegation of falsification of key stage 2 SATS (still under investigation), and allegations of bullying which the Trust was instructed to investigate. This last detail betrays that the authors of the report anticipated the senior management team at the Trust would be changed upon the report delivery, as expecting the people against whom the accusations of bullying were made to investigate themselves is obviously absurd.

(For coverage of the report see a detailed summary in Schools Week and Janet Downs' coverage of the report on LSN.)

- THE SECRETARY OF STATE DOES NOT ACT...

Brought to a head? Well not really. The two key things to note about the report is that the Senior Management of CHAT stand condemned by it under a number of headings, and the Secretary of State has taken no action.

We are where we are. And Patricia Sowter CBE and her colleagues, and indeed various members of her family, are where they remain. Consequently revealing further information about how Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust is actually (mis)managed is fully justified. And following the previous postings on LSN further information has indeed come in from various sources including former and current employees of the Trust, whose identities cannot be disclosed for obvious reasons.

Out of the range of material now available, for this post I shall concentrate on nepotism.

THE STARTING POINT:THE EFA REPORT

The EFA report has quite a lot to say about it. The full text of the report is here but for the purpose of this post I will quote the most immediately relevant bits:-

"35. The investigation found evidence that the Trust’s policies were not complied with in some key cases, and that the process set out in the Articles related to conflicts of interest was not followed. The investigation has seen evidence of at least 3 failures to follow the proper procedures in managing conflict of interest in appointments....

37. There is also evidence that there has been a failure to follow process in pay rises and promotions. These failures are particularly in relation to the consideration and agreement by the Board of Trustees of pay rises and promotions where there is a potential conflict of interest.

38. The concept that trustees or their relatives do not gain financially from their position as trustees is central to the status of the Trust as a charity, to obtaining value for money, and to the exercise of regularity, probity and propriety the use of public funds. All of these are general requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook and the HM Treasury publication ‘Managing Public Money’. The investigation obtained no evidence that the process on managing conflicts of interests (as set out at (i)-(v) above) had been carried out in the recruitment of family members, which is a clear breach of the Articles and the Academies Financial Handbook."

NEPOTISM ESTABLISHED

Thus the EFA report establishes that improper appointment processes occurred. This are NOT allegations but are established facts. Established by the EFA. Consequently if any one would wish to quarrel with that conclusion, their quarrel is with the EFA, and not with the Local Schools Network.

The EFA report does not generally name names. (Although it does give Phil Sowter, Patricia Sowter's husband, a special mention). The authors would no doubt have seen no reason to name individuals as their report concluded:

"50. In the EFA’s view..... there was a serious breakdown in management and governance, to a degree which would entitle the Secretary of State to intervene in accordance with the funding agreement."

ACTION EXPECTED

They expected the Secretary of State to step in, impose an Interim Executive Board, which would among all the other tasks involved in turning the Trust around, (such as proper accounting for money spent) have dealt with the issues both of the improper appointments and the allegations of bullying.

THE NAMES ARE KNOWN

Of course they are. Everyone in the Trust knows what appointments they were, and who fills them. For my part I will now publish the information I have, subject to a health warning or disclaimer.

To the best of my knowledge all the information is accurate, in particular the various relationships. However the fact that someone is closely related to, for example, Patricia Sowter does not, in itself, demonstrate that the appointment they hold is improper. However as we have it as an established fact that improper appointments were made, we can say that a shadow of suspicion must fall on anyone in that position. It is for them, when they see their names listed here, to come forward and rebut the suspicion, by for example, giving evidence of how the post was advertised, how many people applied for it, who sat on the appointments panel, and what concrete steps were taken to avoid conflicts of interest. I repeat that the reason the onus is on them to show they were properly appointed is the finding of the EFA report that improper appointments occurred.

Phil Sowter

Husband to Patricia Sowter, Trustee at Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust and particularly named by the EFA. They were particularly damning about him. Although the Chair of CHAT stressed in public statements that Phil Sowter need not resign and his resignation would be regretted, he chose to resign from the CHAT board. Result?

BUT

He is STILL Chair of Governors at Heron Hall and Chair of Governors at Enfield heights. He is reliably reported to be on site on an almost daily basis, takes part in internal meetings. In short his resignation from the main Board has the look of being largely cosmetic. Severe conflicts of interest established by the EFA remain. (He was described in evidence to the EFA they found credible as being in an "informal job share" with Patricia Sowter, and this behaviour is reported to continue)

Matthew Green

Son to Mrs Sowter from a previous marriage. (Hence the difference in surname) Originally appointed to a newly created job as an ICT technician, then last year appointed as ICT curriculum co ordinator, being the only candidate for the post. He is employed as an unqualified teacher. What his qualifications are in ICT is unknown.

Jack Sowter

Son to Patricia Sowter and Phil Sowter.

Applied for a job as a Senior Teacher with the Trust in May 2014, but when he started in September 2014 he was introduced as the new deputy Headteacher at Kingfisher Hall. Matthew Laban has now resigned as Head. Jack Sowter is regarded as being in a strong position to replace Matthew Laban, as after all he IS the current deputy. It is obviously possible that there may be a shortage of other candidates in current circumstances.

Patricia Hunter

Jack Sowter's partner. Originally started as a Teaching Assistant but is now employed as an unqualified teacher at Kingfisher Hall, where her partner is therefore also her boss. She teachs year 1 children.

Sherin Ahmet

She is daughter in law to Sharon Ahmet, who, it will be recalled is the current Headteacher at Cuckoo Hall. Sherin is currently early years coordinator, Woodpecker Hall. Sharon Ahmet was the Head at Woodpecker Hall before moving to be Head at Cuckoo Hall.

I have received other information which I have been unable to verify, relating, for example, to at least one other individual whose progress from NQT to senior rank, has been, to say the least meteoric. Its not surprising in the climate at CHAT that this should raise suspicions, but it could be they are just exceptionally able. That's the problem with nepotism, once it sets in, as the EFA found it had, the innocent suffer with the guilty.

Anyone named by me in this post who feels traduced by the implications of the EFA finding of nepotism in Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust, are welcome to submit evidence of how their appointment was entirely proper, care of the Local Schools Network and I will be happy to publish the information. Or they could add it directly themselves as a comment. In fact this is their opportunity to escape from the shadow cast over CHAT by the EFA report.

ADDENDUM

I am grateful for those who have had the courage to come forward with this information as things are really difficult at the Trust at present. I hope to be in a position to expand on this point later.

I would also like to thank Cara Jenkinson, who is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Enfield North for allowing me to use a quote from the email she sent me about CHAT in the title for this piece. It was she who described what is going on at Cuckoo Hall as "mismanagement by crony governance". Apt enough.

Joan Ryan, the Labour Candidate has also emailed me to the effect that a Labour administration would act.

So there we have it. In Enfield North there is agreement between Conservative (Nick de Bois) Labour (Joan Ryan) and Liberal Democrat (Cara Jenkinson) . With tri partisan support, could, perhaps, the Secretary of State consider doing SOMETHING? The children are waiting.

I thought I would leave the last word to Wikipedia and its entry on "Cronyism"

"Cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. Hence, cronyism is contrary in practice and principle to meritocracy."

"Cronyism exists when the appointer and the beneficiary are in social contact. Often, the appointer is inadequate to hold his or her own job or position of authority, and for this reason the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken him or her, or express views contrary to those of the appointer."
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Comments

David P's picture
Thu, 16/04/2015 - 17:47

How has it got this far without the DfE doing anything about it. Do they think the problem will go away if they ignore it? Who has to lose their job or be signed off sick for something to actually be done? Nicky Morgan should be ashamed of herself for not stepping in and stopping this madness.


David Barry's picture
Sat, 18/04/2015 - 22:05

I have placed an FOI request through the whatdotheyknow website to establish exactly what the position is at CHAT regarding unqualified teachers and staff turnover.

You can find the request here

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/the_composition_of_the_teaching

Also if you register with the site you can "follow" the request and be emailed direct when a response comes through.

But I shall post the outcome here, also.


Cuckoointhenest's picture
Sun, 19/04/2015 - 20:50

Oh my goodness! Substitute 'charter' for 'academy', and 'Columbus, Ohio' for 'Edmonton, London' and it's a match!

It's that work again, accountability.... Nicky Morgan, where are you?

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 20/04/2015 - 07:55

Cuckoointhenest - as we're now in the campaigning period before an election (known as 'purdah'), it's unlikely Morgan will do anything. Better to leave well alone than do something which would cause negative publicity to the Tories (after all, Sowter was made a CBE, and Gove often praised her even to the extent, as I've said before, of being complicit in the claim she turned round Cuckoo Hall for special measures).

It's likely that she'd fall back on the tired mantra that academies are subject to more scrutiny than non-academies because their accounts are externally audited by an independent auditor and then sent to the EFA. But independent auditors can miss wrongdoing (eg Sawtry Community College) and the EFA is unlikely to be able to sift through thousands of academy accounts at a time it's supposed to cut its costs. CHAT accounts were passed by an auditor who didn't inquire why it was necessary to spend £9000 on hospitality. That's because such questions are beyond auditors' remit - they don't have to look at value for money only whether accounts have been made up correctly.

David Barry's picture
Mon, 20/04/2015 - 09:44

The link between the Charter School idea in the Staesd and Free Schools here was made quite explicit by a number of people when they started. The BBC has a scrupulously balenced briefing here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-13266290

David Barry's picture
Mon, 20/04/2015 - 09:49

And for a somewhat less dispassionate account of the link between Charter Schools and Acdemies and Free Schools here is a comment article in the Guardian by Melissa Benn, of this parish.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/nov/28/us-charter-academies-fr...

David Barry's picture
Mon, 20/04/2015 - 09:52

And finally here is the DfE confirming the link between Charter Schools and Free Schools as an idea:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/us-charter-schools-experts-to-speak-a...

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 20/04/2015 - 10:32

David - there was so little hype after the free schools Conference in Jan 2011 I wondered if the event had been the anticipated success. I had to submit a FoI request to get transcripts released. It took until May 2011 although videos had been posted on the DfE website by 7 April (link no longer works - videos have been archived). I had to chase the FoI request as the DfE claimed they'd never received it although WhatDoTheyKnow say it sent the request 20 February 2011.




David Barry's picture
Mon, 20/04/2015 - 09:56

And Janet Downs' most recent post (of a number) on this site about Charter Schools is

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/07/us-charter-schools-show-mo...

David Barry's picture
Mon, 20/04/2015 - 17:46

So, I would comment that given a choice between providing wrong information on an FOI, which could, in principle, lead one to being found in contempt of Court, and showing that a senior member of staff had mis briefed parents, well then I know what I would do.

But note that you have to be careful if you want to say anyone lied, as telling a lie requires you to:

1. Say something that is false

2. Know it is false

3. And intend to deceive.

So showing that what someone said is false does not prove they are a liar.

Rosemary's picture
Tue, 21/04/2015 - 20:58

These two articles make for an interesting read and were published in the national and local press. The first article regards allegations of cheating at exams, nepotism and cronyism at a primary school in East London.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10042421/Headteacher-...

"Among the allegations included in the Department for Education's investigation were claims that the headteacher:

oversaw cheating in the SAT exams taken by 11-year-olds which involved them doing coursework which was exactly the same as the examination papers they went on to sit;

gave jobs to friends without the authorisation of the school governors as the existing staff of the school "resigned in droves", while rewarding three friends on the staff with pay rises;

may have been complicit in an attempt to fool Ofsted inspectors which involved weaker pupils presenting copied work as their own."

The second article from the Barking and Dagenham Post reports the conclusion of the investigation at the same school:

http://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/news/education/scandal_hit_eastb...

"The headteacher was cleared of the cheating allegations but with further allegations of mismanagement the Department for Education stepped in and education secretary Michael Gove appointed an interim executive board to take over from the school’s governing board."

cuckoointhenest's picture
Wed, 22/04/2015 - 17:15

The difference this time is that CHAT is an academy chain. Perhaps that's the only reason that the DfE haven't stepped in.


Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 22/04/2015 - 08:31

Rosemary - thanks for the links. It shows that there was publicity after the Standards and Testing Agency found there was no malpractice.

However, the responsibility for making the result public is with the school not STA (why, I don't know). I have tried to contact STA re Cuckoo Hall but one of my messages was not delivered (it timed out, apparently) and I've had no acknowledgement to the second.

It's all very disturbing.

Alice's picture
Sun, 26/04/2015 - 17:54

1. Trust's policies not complied with
2. Process related to conflict of interest not followed
3. Failure to follow proper procedures
4. Failure to follow process in pay rises and promotions
5. Failure to follow process in recruitment of family members
6. Clear breach of the Articles
7. Clear breach of the Academies Financial Handbook
8. Improper appointment processes
9. Serious breakdown in management and governance

If this amounts to a summary of David Barry's comments from the EFA investigation findings and despite the current situation with purdah, one can only hope that when the dust clears someone will have the good sense to look at the absolutely overwhelming evidence and rectify the situation by getting rid of these people, both within the schools and on the Board.
As the parents and staff are saying, " WE HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN YOU".

Alice's picture
Sun, 26/04/2015 - 18:33

I'm struggling to understand why they would want you to go in and look at the teaching which sounds fragmentary to say the least....
Clearly you need to go in and ask lots of questions of great complexity (!) perhaps something like:
Where has my child's teacher gone?
Why have they left in the middle of a term?
What are you as a school doing to ensure that my child's education doesn't suffer?
What handover of information was there between my child's teacher and the new teacher?
How do I know that what you're telling me is true?
Unfortunately these simple questions may prove to be much too complicated for the senior staff to answer as they themselves are but poor substitutes for a real Senior Leadership Team.

David Barry's picture
Mon, 27/04/2015 - 09:49

Alice

You write:

"It won’t matter soon that they can’t recruit qualified teachers for Cuckoo Hall because there won’t be any children coming in"

Wheter they start to have child recruitment problems depends on the school place supply in Enfield. It does seem to me that it would be very wise for a parent to think long and hard before sending their child to one of the CHAT schools as it is obvious there is going to be an increasing level of turbulence as time passes without a decisive initiative by the Secretary of State. But (and I write this as I dont have the immediate local knowledge) what options do parents have other than CHAT school? They are after all, at this stage, a significant part of the provision in Enfield.

Phil's picture
Thu, 30/04/2015 - 16:21

in 2014 10 teachers finished their nqt year overseen by istip to become fully qualified teachers at cuckoo hall. Out of those 10 teachers 9 are leaving in 2015. Why? Because they have had ENOUGH. Enough of the lies, enough of the poor management, enough of the bureaucracy enough of being around unhappy staff, enough of being bullied. #staffturnover.


Alice's picture
Sat, 02/05/2015 - 06:58

IStip have been contacted by NQTs concerned for their future within CHAT; by NQTs desperate for help and support living in a climate of fear; by NQTs who have had such an awful time that it has made them ill and they have gone off on sick leave; by NQTs so fearful of the behaviours within the senior leadership team at Cuckoo Hall that they have had to contact their union as well and have been moved to a school outside the CHAT empire.
IStip have received phone calls and emails from current NQTs; from NQTs from the previous cohort who experienced exactly the same treatment; from other teachers who can see what is happening to NQTs in their year teams and want to do something about it; from members of support staff concerned for the health and well being of the NQTs; from the now dismissed senior teacher who had the brief to oversee the NQTs and wasn't prepared to join in with the bullying and intimidation; (Ah, maybe that's the real reason she 'had to go' ) from senior teachers within CHAT (but obviously not Cuckoo Hall) who have the good sense to see that not only is this behaviour completely unprofessional, unacceptable and immoral but that the senior staff in Cuckoo Hall are clearly so blinkered and stupid that they have missed the fact that we have a recruitment crisis across London and that people have human rights which are clearly being breached in this awful place.
So, yes. IStip are clearly aware of the current situation and for reasons unknown to the rest of us are choosing to sit tight and do nothing. They have been into Cuckoo Hall for a visit but whether they were able to speak to NQTs without a senior leader being in the room is doubtful. And also, last year the NQTs in Cuckoo Hall were told in advance of the visit that they had to say they were getting their non-teaching time (which they clearly were not); that they all had a proper mentor from within the teaching staff who had regular structured meetings with them (which they clearly did not); that they had regular help and support with their paperwork (which they clearly did not) Difficult perhaps for IStip to gather a true picture but the fact that they were told in advance of the visit this year what was happening and what had been said leads me to think that financial considerations may carry more weight than the potential longterm damage being done to these young inexperienced NQTs.
The DfE are also aware of the situation but 'purdah', as ever, is proving a useful excuse for inaction.

Fiona Millar's picture
Sun, 03/05/2015 - 15:32

A number of comments on this thread have breached our guidelines for LSN posts. We are keen to stimulate real time debate and the exchange of ideas, without moderation, but we draw the line at either abusive or personal attacks. Please bear that in mind if you wish to continue commenting on the Cuckoo Hall story. It is an important story but your comments may be deleted if they breach the spirit of LSN.


Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 04/05/2015 - 07:26

Alice - I know Cuckoo Hall once appeared in its list of 'independent' schools on the Independent Schools Council site but it now seems to have disappeared. If you type 'Cuckoo Hall' in the search box it returns no result. Similarly, typing in Cuckoo Hall's postcode reveals nothing.

So, should some other body be overseeing NQTs in CHAT academies? That said, DfE guidance about induction says:

'There is no legal requirement to satisfactorily complete an induction period if an
NQT intends to work solely in the independent sector, including an academy, a
free school...'

The guidance also says that ISTIP can be one of the 'appropriate' bodies overseeing NQT induction in academies or free schools. But if CHAT is no longer on its list of schools, then which appropriate body is overseeing NQTs?


Alice's picture
Mon, 04/05/2015 - 08:48

Janet - Having looked, I too cannot find that information - how interesting. All the schools are listed on EduBase although the information given is very out of date in some cases. Patricia Sowter is still listed as the Headteacher for Cuckoo Hall while Sharon Ahmet is listed as the Headteacher for Woodpecker Hall...... There is no mention of Alison Edmonds who has been the Headteacher there for the last year and has sadly now resigned.
I know that IStip visited the schools in the last two weeks and that there will be a report back on the arrangements which would seem to indicate that there is still some kind of contractual arrangement in place between IStip and the Trust but I haven't received feedback from that as yet.

Debra's picture
Mon, 04/05/2015 - 09:53

Copy of reply which got posted in the above chain
Alice and Janet – Cuckoo Hall Academy (with Patricia Sowter as Head) is a member of the Independent School association (http://www.isaschools.org.uk/school-details.php?id=298) and therefore can register NQTs with IStip. The membership does appear to be out of date as Patricia is not Headteacher at Cuckoo Hall, and the other schools in the chain are not registered. (Perhaps they don't have to be does a chain only need to register one school?)

IStip, along with the DfE, seems to be reluctant to act on the overwhelming evidence presented to them. Any system is bound to be flawed when the organisation receiving the payment quality controls the payee.

Debra's picture
Mon, 04/05/2015 - 09:43

Alice and Janet - Cuckoo Hall Academy (with Patricia Sowter as Head) is a member of the Independent School association (http://www.isaschools.org.uk/school-details.php?id=298) and therefore can register NQTs with IStip. The membership does appear to be out of date as Patricia is not Headteacher at Cuckoo Hall, and the other schools in the chain are not registered.

IStip, along with the DfE, seems to be reluctant to act on the overwhelming evidence presented to them. The system is flawed when the organisation receiving the payment quality controls the payee.

Neil's picture
Tue, 05/05/2015 - 09:10

When I looked at this thread last week I was saddened and shocked at some of the comments, I personally know nothing about CHAT but have been following the story and am appalled at what seems to be a deeply mismanaged and bullying organisation. Why has it not been resoundingly censured by the Secretary of State or the DfE. What is interesting is that last week there were 72 Comments on this thread and today there are 24. Has a certain organisation's legal team put Local Schools Network under pressure, a sad day for freedom of speech.


Fiona Millar's picture
Tue, 05/05/2015 - 09:46

No - we have come under no pressure. But we try to avoid either overly personal or abusive comments on this site. People are free to say what they wish as long as they stay within those boundaries. We all agree this is an important thread about what appears to be a very troubled school. I hope people will feel able to continue commenting without making it too personal about the individuals involved.


Neil's picture
Tue, 05/05/2015 - 09:55

Thanks Fiona, I am pleased to hear it, I agree with you, quite clearly from the thread there are some very hurt individuals, I really hope this situation is resolved, being a school leader myself I feel what was reported in the EFA report damages the reputation of the profession and therefore needs to be resolved for the young people's sake.


Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 05/05/2015 - 10:19

The Mayor of London (July 2014) made this announcement about CHAT academies:

'The schools have received £260,900 in funding from the Mayor's London Schools Excellence Fund to deliver a project that will see pupil attainment increase above the borough average. This project is being delivered in conjunction with Civitas who are helping to develop in-depth subject materials and resources covering History, Geography, Science, Latin, Music and Art. CHAT/Civitas are also working alongside the West London Free Schools to implement the programme.'

The link to CHAT given in the Mayor's press release no longer works. CHAT and WLFS are using the Core Curriculum UK, much-praised by Gove and other ministers, used in school minister Lord Nash's Pimlico Academies and published by Civitas. The Core Curriculum UK is also used at Grindon Hall Christian School, a free school judged Inadequate late last year. (Note: this might not necessarily be a reflection of the quality of the Curriculum but could be, say, of its implementation. Nevertheless, Grindon Hall boasts about its use of the Gove-endorsed Core Curriculum UK.)





Cuckoointhenest's picture
Tue, 05/05/2015 - 19:49

Fiona, as an insider it's almost impossible to comment on the level of bullying targeted staff are subjected to without these comments appearing to be personal: we have seen friends 'disappear' from the school and the explanations given just don't add up - in some cases the school's account bears no resemblance to the truth as told by the latest victims (an NQT has NOT just left education to pursue a new direction - she has left CHAT and found a supportive and fair environment locally in which to continue teaching) and former staff are labelled as being vindictive and malicious when all they have done is acted as whistleblower in good faith to the DfE.

It's also difficult to narrate honestly what has happened and is still happening, as to an outsider the truth appears to be unbelievable; that in the 21st century a publicly-funded organisation can act in such a way to employees (as described in the EFA report), and the censure from the DfE? - investigate yourself? It didn't take too much to foresee what would happen; of course they would exonerate themselves and of course they wouldn't release the contents of the internal report (FOI request denied).

People are angry, yes. But above all people are frightened as they know that unless something is done, they could be next. I understand your stance and applaud your sense of fairness but it is a shame that there isn't a 'Fiona' exercising the same on behalf of the CHAT employees who have suffered so terribly.

David Barry's picture
Tue, 05/05/2015 - 23:05

I think there is an interesting and important point here.

I accept that some of the recent comments on this thread were tipping over into what could be regarded as personal abuse. Particularly if quoted in isolation. Obviously this has the disadvantage that the more reasoned and evidence based contributions, get drowned out, and their impact diminished by association. LSN has enemies anyway, who would be happy to discredit the site by selective quotation. I support the action of removing some posts.

However I think we should understand why it happened in this case. Staff and parents who have found themselves caught up in the goings on at Cuckoo Hall have found themselves in a position where all the normal custom and practice in schools no longer seems to apply. And when they try to raise it through the proper channels their experience, to date, has been that no action is taken. (In fact that was also the experience of their outgoing MP). They have found it difficult to get an audience. In part this is because people do not realise the extent to which the old system for regulating schools has been dismantled. So when they hear about the things alleged to be going on at CHAT, they do not credit them, thinking that things like that "would not be allowed." So for example there have been calls for Enfield Council to "do something" by people who clearly do not realise that Academies are not under local government control at all.

In LSN those who oppose the current regime in CHAT have found a platform. And not to put to fine a point on it, a group who appear to listen and take their concerns seriously.It is not really surprising the frustration and anger has, for some, found an outlet. I do sympathise.

Of course it would be easy to be preachy on this, as I have no personal contact with any of the players. However, for example, just saying that "X" is a horrible person, while this may be well known in your circle is just an assertion and not an argument. I very much hope you all will continue to participate on LSN but there are limits that do need to be observed in a public, written medium.

But we need to note that CHAT is a place of real, and justified, anger.

Fiona Millar's picture
Wed, 06/05/2015 - 12:03

I think this is right David. We want to give people a place to express their views but they just need some moderation!


Fiona Millar's picture
Wed, 06/05/2015 - 12:05

I agree and we are grateful to everyone who is drawing attention to this bad situation as over time I believe that these stories will reinforce our view that schools do need proper local oversight and management. The anger of the staff concerned is understandable and I hope your colleagues will feel able to continue contributing to the debate.


David Barry's picture
Wed, 06/05/2015 - 13:22

The next post in the series about Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust has just gone up here:

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/05/cuckoo-hall-suspended-rein...

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