Council demands apology for 1,300 pupils at failing secondary school in Milton Keynes

Students at 'declining' secondary school in MK should all be given an apology from the government, said councillors today.

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 1:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 1:12 pm

The management of Stantonbury International School was taken over by the Griffin Trust in 2016, when it became an academy and no longer under the control of MK Council.

But two months ago, following an inadequate Ofsted ruling, the Department for Education announced the Trust's funding to run the school would be terminated from July this year.

The department's Regional Schools Commissioners said the school "would improve more quickly with a stronger Trust".

Students should receive an apology, say Labour councillors

Griffin Trust bosses have said they will work with a new sponsor to ensure a smooth transition for pupils and staff.

But Labour leaders on MK Council are battling for the school to return to council control.

They have also written to the Regional Schools Commissioner to demand an apology for the "devastating" affect that the Griffin Trust’s poor management has had on students and families in the area.

The letter requests the school is placed under the leadership of Milton Keynes Council to avoid another "disastrous Multi Academy Trust takeover".

It states: "Stantonbury International School was taken under the leadership of the Griffin Trust in 2016. Since academisation, the school experienced a decline in standards, outcome and safety, which led to an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted report in 2020 and government funding being removed from the trust to run the school.

"In just four years of Griffin Trust leadership the number of students at the school declined from 1,834 to 1,391, and parents have been taking extreme measures such as moving out of the catchment area to avoid transition to the school."

Cllr Martin Petchey, the Labour councillor for Stantonbury ward said: “Stantonbury school was a leading example of progressive learning. The decline since it has become an academy is huge. Local parents are worried and want action. The only reason this school isn’t being returned to MK Council is Conservative ideology being put above what is right for young people.”

Cllr Zoe Nolan, who is Cabinet member for Children and Families said: “It is clear that the decision to place Stantonbury International School under the management of the Griffin Trust has had a significant and detrimental effect on the school and its students. I remain extremely concerned about another unknown, remote Multi Academy Trust who is not familiar with Milton Keynes, running the school”

She added: “Ensuring all children have access to a good school remains a priority for Milton Keynes Council. By bringing it under leadership of the Local Authority we have the capacity, experience, skills and knowledge to drive forward improvement at pace, and have the ability to make specific and systemic improvements to restore confidence in the school and improve outcomes for its pupils.

“We want the best possible outcome for all students in Milton Keynes and don’t want to see one of our biggest schools continue to fail under poor academy leadership. My hope is that we can bring it under our leadership and see it improve and thrive again in the future.”

A spokesman for Griffin Trust said after the finance was withdrawn: "We would like to assure parents that we will work together with the new sponsor yet to be proposed by the Department for Education to ensure a smooth transition for all students.

"All permanent staff will move across to the new employer, so students will continue to work with staff they know and by whom they are known."