Education is not for sale

NILA 02-10-12 BE 12 Ormiston enterprise academy, Cotmanhay.
NILA 02-10-12 BE 12 Ormiston enterprise academy, Cotmanhay.

I am writing to let you know my thoughts following my attendance at Ilkeston School with respect to the proposed closure of the Bennerley School site.

I feel that many questions were left unanswered, not only some that I raised but other valid questions that parents raised. The questions which were answered were not, in my opinion, adequate.

I felt that the representatives from Ormiston Academies Trust were not properly prepared. Could this be because the decision has already been made and the consultation process is just a ‘tick box’ exercise?

As I understand, The Ormiston Trust is a charity, which is the controlling body and sponsor of Ormiston Academies Trust, which in turn is a company limited by guarantee.

Ormiston Education Limited is a loss making limited company during the year to 31 August 2011 which is the wholly owned subsidiary of Ormiston Academies Trust.

Mr Paul Nye the corporate finance director was in attendance and during the course of the meeting he stated in no uncertain terms that The Ormiston Trust would not consider helping any Academy out financially despite having millions in its unrestricted reserves and also being a charity.

When Ormiston Academies Trust took over Bennerley School, following its takeover of Ilkeston School, it undertook some financial projections which showed that the Ormiston Enterprise Academy would produce a surplus. The management of the Trust knew at this time that numbers could fall and no contingency plans appear to have been made or followed.

In addition, in September 2011 it was already known that the Government was making many funding cuts.

I asked Mr Nye why no contingency plans were put in place and did not receive an answer.

I asked if Bennerley School could come out of the Trust and was told this was not possible because of the funding agreement.

If the Trust cannot break the funding agreement, how can it break promises made to the school governors and the public when taking over the school.

Wendy Phillips

Duke Street