What the Governing Board didn’t want you to see
Prendergast Governing Board recently released some of the confidential minutes from meetings that discussed the proposed academisation. They redacted key information they didn’t want you to see. Thankfully, the NEU has been passed the original uncensored documents and can reveal some interesting details.
Telling porkies on pay?
The Governing Board recently have written to staff and parents claiming they will guarantee pay and conditions for staff after the Multi Academy Trust is formed. It is unsurprising then that they wanted to hide the fact that there have already been discussions on the Governing Board, in April 2022, about changing the pay policy. We quote the redacted section in full for clarity (our emphasis):
“Update from Due Diligence Working Party Chair & Paper from DHR 6.1 The Chair updated on the recent meeting to explore HR considerations. A potential change relates to moving away from the LA Model Policy, and adopting a Federation Policy giving more flexibility on adopting certain aspects of STPCD [School Teachers Pay & Conditions Document], although this is not necessarily tied to academisation. A proposal would be brought on this update to the Pay Policy, independent of the consultation on academisation.”
This is no shock. Ultimately, this is how academies save money, by cutting wage costs, and it’s why they want financial autonomy. Should we take their word for it that this won’t resurface as an idea once the MAT is formed?
David Sheppard is back!
David Sheppard, the Executive Headteacher in 2015 who tried and failed to privatise Prendergast, is named as one of the 9 Trustees of the new Charitable Incorporated Organisation related to the proposed MAT. This is the same David Sheppard who deliberately withheld and concealed key information during that consultation. That’s not just us saying that, this is what a first tier tribunal ruled: “48 i a) We are satisfied that further information was held that was in scope and was not disclosed to the Commissioner, this now forms part of the closed bundle”
For a project we are being asked to place a lot of TRUST in, is he really the right person to be making key decisions about your child’s future?
How local is local?
The Governing Board have made much of this being a ‘local’ MAT, in contrast to bigger chains. We have already explained that academies can be ‘rebrokered’ and small MATS swallowed by bigger ones but the minutes even raise a question about their definition of local.
The minutes showed that some of the first substantive discussions with a school about joining a future MAT, were not had with one of Prendergast’s feeder schools, or even a Lewisham school, but with a primary school in Southwark. They have also already recruited a senior education official in Lambeth borough to the CIO Board of Trustees, who will have extensive links in that borough too. It begs the question, how local is local?
A wonderful irony in all of this is that the Prendergast Governing Board have employed Communitas PR company in Brighton to help them sell the argument for privatisation (at a time when school budgets are squeezed, could this considerable sum of money not be spent on better things?!) Communitas developed ‘8 Truths’ to manage the message in consultation but this is the real truth and it doesn’t cost a penny.