Troubled Milton Keynes secondary school set to be taken over by another private Trust

The troubled Stantonbury International School will not be given to the local authority to control, it has been revealed/

Monday, 29th March 2021, 6:01 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 6:02 pm

Instead it has been proposed that the school, which was once the largest in Europe, be taken over by the Tove Learning Trust - a multi academy trust that already runs Lord Grey School in West Bletchley.

Lord Grey is rated an all round 'good' by Ofsted and its academic prowess at sixth form level is the second highest in MK, according to performance tables.

Tove Learning Trust also runs two Bletchley primary schools, Knowles and Water Hall, as well as a seven other secondary schools elsewhere in the country.

Stantonbury International School

The change could be a relief for parents of Stantonbury pupils, who watched the school fail under its previous leadership, the Griffin Trust.

Last year it was rated inadequate by Ofsted and placed in special measures. But in December, after seeing little progress, the Department of Education lost all confidence in the Griffin Trust to run it and withdrew their funding.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Elizabeth Berridge stated at the time there was a "lack of evidence that the trust has the capacity to make the rapid and sustained improvements required at the academy."

She added: "There is a very real risk that performance will not improve, and children will not receive the education they deserve."

Following the rare move, Labour-led Milton Keynes Council immediately asked to have the school back under its own local authority control as soon as possible.

Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “For Stantonbury International to become an academy was wrong, and the Conservative zeal to make schools become academies is a failure. There is no meaningful accountability, no local ability to change things and a remote chain who are detached from our community. The school should be returned to Milton Keynes Council, as should all failing schools.”

She added: "The majority of Milton Keynes Council schools are good or outstanding. We work with headteachers and governing bodies and share experience and successful leadership. There is very clear evidence that academisation does not improve schools. Good leadership improves schools and as a local authority we have the support networks to do that. Remote chains that have no links to our area have repeatedly shown they do not improve our schools.”

But now it's been announced the government has proposed Tove Learning Trust will take over.

City MP Ben Everitt and local Conservative councillors have welcomed the news

Mr Everitt said: “This has been a long and complicated issue to sort out. I know how frustrating it's been for parents, pupils and staff. I’m so pleased we are making progress and there’s a local trust being proposed, with a good reputation. This is so important for parents given the loss of faith in the current academy leadership."

He added: “I’ll keep working with the Schools Commissioner and her team to make sure we can get the best

possible school so that children can grow and learn and achieve their potential.”

Stantonbury Councillor Alex Walker added: “This is good news. Nobody wanted another out of area academy trust to takeover. I think Tove’s reputation of turning struggling schools around is really positive and I hope this can be the start of a new chapter in the school’s story.”

A consultation is underway for parents and local stakeholders, and the deadline is May 18.