Labour’s Education Spokesperson has accused Swindon Borough Council of administering a shambles, letting school pupils down, in their managing of St Luke’s School.
Labour has learnt that St Luke’s School was partially closed after the White Horse Federation, the Academy Trust who have been given permission to takeover the school, expressed safety concerns.
In January 2017, the White Horse Federation (WHF) was nominated as the named sponsor for St Luke’s by the Regional School Commissioner (RSC) Headteacher Board with a view to it becoming an Academy school within the WHF. However despite being nominated as the named academy sponsor St Luke’s still hasn’t joined the Multi-Academy Trust.
Nearly half the school’s pupils were not in school at the start of the week beginning 25th September. Since then, some full time pupils were still not in school.
Meanwhile St Luke’s school currently operates with no Head Teacher, after its interim Executive Head Teacher resigned from the school and the previous Head Teacher had left the school in the summer of 2016. The Labour Group understands that the Council are reluctant to recruit a Head Teacher while the school is still in the process of slowly being transferred to the White Horse Federation.
The Labour Group’s Shadow Lead for Education, Councillor Carol Shelley, said:
“The situation St Luke’s is really tragic for its pupils and families and what annoys me most is that this is entirely preventable.
It is unacceptable that pupils have lost school learning time because Swindon Council has failed to ensure the school has the necessary staff to run the school.
The Regional Schools Commissioner and his board who acts on behalf of the Secretary of State, has also made decisions that haven’t helped the situation. I understand the White Horse Federation has been approved as the preferred Multi-Academy Trust to take over the running of the school. However the time it has taken for the Federation to take over the school has left the St Luke’s in limbo with a leadership vacuum in the school. This is not a good advert for the government’s academies programme.
The time for excuses needs to be over. The Council need as a matter of urgency to recruit a new Head Teacher to lead the school. And if St Luke’s is to be transferred to the White Horse Federation then it needs to be done as a matter urgency also. No more excuses, this is our children’s education we are talking about”.