Secondary school head teacher criticises trust's approach to academy takeover of Mackie Hill Primary

Mackie Hill was merged with Kettlethorpe High School in 2018.
Mackie Hill was merged with Kettlethorpe High School in 2018.

A long-serving head teacher has criticised an academy trust for not meeting parents face-to-face, as it prepares to take over a primary school.

Tudor Griffiths, head at Kettlethorpe High School, has been involved in the running of nearby Mackie Hill in Crigglestone for the last two years.

Parents have vehemently opposed the academisation of Mackie Hill

Parents have vehemently opposed the academisation of Mackie Hill

Mr Griffiths' was enlisted to help Mackie Hill after it was placed in special measures in January 2018 by Ofsted.

But despite a turnaround in the school's fortunes and parents' outspoken support for the current regime, the Department of Education has now asked the Inspire Partnership Multi Academy Trust to take it over.
The trust, headed by CEO Sue Vickerman is due to take charge of Mackie Hill on February 1 next year and has promised pupils and staff there will be "minimal disruption" during the changes.

But Mr Griffiths has criticised the Inspire Partnership's approach to communicating with parents in advance of the takeover, and says he hopes that Mackie Hill's popular and head Jayne Elliott continues in the role.

He said: "I think it’s disappointing that the CEO has chosen to write to parents, rather than meet with them. I think that’s a missed opportunity.

“These parents, quite rightly, want the very best deal for their children We’ve spent a lot of time communicating with them in the time we've been involved and we've built an implicit trust there. It’s very important that that contact continues.

"Simply writing to them means that they may end up having lots of questions that Mrs Elliott is unable to answer."

Mr Griffiths said the prospect of his involvement with Mackie Hill coming to an end was a sad one.

He added: "It's the most enjoyable piece of work I've ever done in education, and I've been a head teacher for 18 years.

"I'm very pleased we've been involved with the school and made it better for everyone.

"Jayne has had 100 per cent buy-in from all of the staff. She's a very capable school leader. Whether or not she continues is a decision for the new sponsor.

"But at the moment for us it's business as usual. We will continue to support the school until we're told otherwise."

The Inspire Trust was contacted for comment but has yet to respond.

Local Democracy Reporting Service