Somerset

Bruton school takeover proposal sparks opposition from parents

Sexey's School in Bruton Image copyright Google
Image caption Sexey's is a state secondary where 163 of its pupils board on site

A proposal to takeover a school by a multi-academy trust is being done "behind closed doors", parents have claimed.

Sexey's School in Bruton, Somerset, was rated "inadequate" by Ofsted in March.

Parents were given a public meeting and two days of consultation over proposals that Sherborne Academy Schools' Trust had been identified to run the school.

Phil Davies said he and other parents were "rightly concerned" the move was being done without any transparency.

The Department for Education (DfE) said all decisions were being considered in the best interest of the school and pupils.

Sexey's, a state secondary boarding school where 163 of the 600 pupils board on site, was rated as inadequate and showing serious weaknesses but a takeover is not obligatory.

The school has said since the inspection, no follow-up visit has taken place.

Its current head took up her post a year ago and parents said they had been supportive of her efforts.

'Overwhelming opposition'

The majority of parents voted against any planned takeover at a meeting on Wednesday, where the trust held a presentation.

"To say that meeting was feisty would be an understatement," Mr Davies said.

"There was overwhelming opposition to the suggestion that Sexey's should be moved to a multi-academy trust without any other options being put forward to a regional commissioner."

The MP for Somerton and Frome, David Warburton, said in a tweet: "Good to talk to the secretary of state Gavin Williamson today... we'll be meeting urgently to see what can be done to give our terrific school the time it needs to properly plan for the future."

The chair of governors has also written an open letter urging the National Schools Commissioner to intervene.

A DfE spokesman said: "We are engaging with the School and the community and will continue to do so as this process moves forward."

The final decision over the school's future will made on 21 October.

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