Parents protest against ‘forced’ changes of school after OFSTED downgrade.

Parents of pupils at King Edward VII School (KES) have held a protest outside Sheffield City Hall against sweeping plans triggered by an Ofsted review.

In September 2023 an OFSTED inspection deemed the school as good in most areas but inadequate concerning safeguarding and leadership.

Parents have now discovered plans to turn the school into an academy run by Brigantia.

Brigantia is an academy trust which runs schools and is responsible for the performance of the academies under its trust.

A draft agenda was published before the regional DofE meeting next week, with Brigantia being proposed to take over.

Parents and the school itself had not been made aware of this.

Amanda Hughes, a parent of a student currently attending the KES lower school, said: “We are parents of the kids that go to this school that have all of a sudden been shoehorned into this situation through a ridiculous OFSTED decision now it’s almost like what we think and what our kids think doesn’t count.”

Parents of children studying at KES joined together to try and stop this change and convey their irritation with their lack of control over OFSTED’s decision at the protest on Saturday.

Ju Haynes, who also has a child at the lower school, said: “Parents have no choice and no voice, we are third parties in this situation.”

Signs with ‘Hands off’ and ‘OFSTED are not fit for purpose’ were being displayed by protesters at the event on Saturday.

Brigantia has five schools with two of them already reviewed as ‘Requires Improvement’ by OFSTED.

Adding KES to its list of schools means the number of pupils under the trust would increase dramatically, adding an extra 1,800 to the 4,000 students with Brigantia.

KES is the last local authority secondary school in Sheffield.

Despite concerns raised by Ofsted some parents said they were happy to send their children to the school without worrying about safeguarding. 

Gemma Priestley, who has a year nine student at KES, said: “It’s an amazing school and it needs saving.”

There are concerns over the loss of the individuality of students and the capacity of the trust to support KES if academisation – turning the school into an academy – was to take place.

Mrs Priestley added: “The individuality of each student is amazing and that’s what is important.”

Written by Kiera Macey

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