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Don't Trust the Co-op

2nd March 2010

Proposal for Three National Challenge Trusts in Leicester

On Monday 22nd February 2010, trade union secretaries were briefed by Margaret Libreri (Divisional Director, Learning Services) regarding National Challenge Trusts. The following information went to schools on Tuesday 23rd and was in the public domain on 24th.

Pending ratification at governors/IEB meetings, three schools will submit statements of intent to become National Challenge Trust schools to the DCSF. It is likely that they will be approved by the DCSF and formal consultation will take place.

The three schools are:

Babington Community Technology College

The lead education partners will be Leicester FE College, the Local Authority and the Co-operative College. Formal consultation will begin on 24th February and end on 24th March.

Fullhurst Community College

The lead education partners will be Rushey Mead Secondary School, the Local Authority, the Co-operative College and the Becket School (Nottinghamshire). Formal consultation will run from 24th February to 24th March.

New College Leicester

The lead education partners will be CFBT, Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1st sixth form College, the Local Authority and the Co-operative College. The formal consultation period is from 1st March to 12th April.

We were told that the consultation process will be quite detailed. Schools are drawing up lists of consultees. The consultation is coming from the governing bodies/IEBs, but being led by the Co-operative College.

Following the formal consultation and depending on the outcome, statutory notices will be issued on 19th April. The statutory consultation will end on 17th May.

The governing bodies/IEBs will meet the following week and, if agreed, implementation will be from the 1st June for September 2010.

The NUT will continue to oppose what we see as a fragmentation of education in Leicester. Local NUT Officers are meeting with Regional Secretary, Lynn Collins, and the reps from Fullhurst and Babington on Tuesday 2nd March with a view to discussing what industrial action might be possible.

We also intend to organise demonstrations outside Co-op shops. Support of privatisation of this type by the Co-op seems a particular betrayal to those of us who have supported the Co-op for many years because of its ethical position on many issues.

A Nottingham NUT member says:

A colleague today drew my attention to the 'plans' for the three schools in Leicester and in particular, the proposal involving the Becket School. Having grown up in Nottingham, I had friends who attended Becket. It has always enjoyed a reputation for success.

However, it's difficult to imagine a school less congruent with Fullhurst: Becket is split-site (quite a walk between the two), big, Catholic aided and is sited in West Bridgford! It has a fair proportion of E2L pupils but these are largely middle European (the school is popular with Polish and Lithuanian Catholic families) and the last time that I talked to colleagues in Nottinghamshire, it had a low incidence of SEN. One can only wonder whether the name was simply drawn out of a hat...


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