Confusion over schools merger

PARENTS have expressed their confusion over the way the possible amalgamation of three of Royston’s schools has been handled.

The Crow revealed two weeks ago how senior staff at middle schools Roysia and Greneway and upper school Meridian were pushing ahead plans to form either a federation or an academy between them.

But complaints have been made over the clarity of the letter sent out to parents and the time taken to make the decision.

Andy Moorley, a parent with children at Roysia and Roman Way First School and a former governor, said that many haven’t understood the proposals and that a move to academy status would be too much too soon.

“Most parents have said to me that they don’t really understand that there are two proposals on the table,” he said. “There is obviously quite a complex situation here and it was not really clear what the reasons were and the implications of it. The letter didn’t make this apparent.

“There will be an awful lot of change at the same time and as yet they haven’t explained to parents why going for an academy is a good thing to do.

“There will be a lot of risks at the same time for an academy but they haven’t put a good case forward as to why they would do that. They are rushing into it just so they can do it in September.”

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A federation would mean the schools would be able to share teachers and some funding but remain under the control of Herts County Council.

Academy status means they would be free from county control, have a single governing body, have more say over the curriculum and receive more funding.

At a meeting between parents, governors and teachers on Monday evening Mr Moorley said the schools were not clear about their reasons for the move.

“Before this, no one had mentioned anything about a number crisis,” he said.

“But at the parents evening they said that the main drive behind the change was the fact that they were facing a real challenge because of a surplus of places at the schools.

“The money a school gets is entirely dependent on the number of children that are at it, and they have found very quickly that budgets won’t cover their costs.”

Another parent with children at Roysia School, but who didn’t want to be named, agreed that the decision was being made prematurely and that the parent consultation period wasn’t long enough.

Parents were given just two weeks to respond to the letters sent out.

“The amount of time they have given to consult is ridiculous, and they seem to be making a decision on such a short period,” he said. “I’m angry about the time period it’s been given.

“The leaders of each school haven’t made things clear enough and we are unsure about whether they are going for an academy or a federation.

“I’m very disheartened and feel the parents haven’t been given the facts. There should be two sides to this and we haven’t been given the negative points so we can make a fair decision.”