Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Steiner Academy parents and pupils wait for news of ‘short-sighted’ upper school closure

Story posted on

PARENTS and pupils of Steiner Academy in Frome are waiting to hear the result of the consultation about changes to the age range at the school from 3 to 16 to 3 to 13 – which would end the school’s GCSE offer.

During the consultation, which ended last week, over 100 parents, carers and children from the Frome and Bristol Steiner Academy, which is also facing a similar change, came together to protest outside the Department for Education (DfE) office in Bristol against the proposal. 

Parents say that the change would have a ‘huge impact on the emotional wellbeing’ of children forced to move schools to continue their education.

The change has also been labelled as ‘short-sighted thinking’ by parents, who say Frome could run out of secondary school places by 2026. Parents said, “This would mean disrupting our children’s education only to have to open a new school six years later.” 

During the protest, a letter was hand-delivered to Lucy Gordon, deputy director at the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office for the South West (RSC), asking the DfE and RSC to not close the upper/secondary schools.

One pupil, who would have to leave his school in 2020 if changes go ahead, said, “To the DfE and RSC, hear me. I want to stay at my school.”

A Steiner Academy Frome parent added, “One of the reasons many of us chose these schools is due to the promise made by the DfE when they opened. They stated that they would be all through schools from 3 – 16 offering our children security and consistency.”  

The change to the school, which was placed into ‘special measures’ by Ofsted following an inspection last year that rated the school as ‘Inadequate’, could come into effect from September 2020 if given the go-ahead. 

It has been proposed by the Avanti Schools Trust’s board of trustees, the multi-academy trust who are taking over management of the school, and the Steiner Academy Frome Academy management committee.

In response to the protests last month, a DfE spokesperson said, “Safeguarding our children and young people throughout their education is paramount, regardless of the setting in which they are being taught and where any school fails to meet the required standards, we will not hesitate to take action.

“Avanti Schools Trust is a strong sponsor for the three Steiner academies in special measures and has the capacity and capability to help bring about the necessary improvements.

“The department will work with Avanti to transfer the academies as quickly as possible so the necessary improvements can be made.”

Both Steiner Academy Frome and Avanti Schools Trust were also approached for comment – the academy said it was unable to respond as they were on their half-term break, and no response was received from the trust before going to press.

Photos: www.clementin ewilsonphotography.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *