South Leicestershire MP, Alberto Costa, has announced his intention to raise the actions of the Diocese of Leicester Academies Trust (DLAT) with the Secretary of State for Education in the House of Commons in response to the changes made to the leadership of Swinford CofE Primary School and the lack of proper consultation with parents and carers of pupils at the school.
Alberto had previously outlined his concern at the approach taken by the Academies Trust, and has been in discussions with the Regional Schools Commissioner, the Bishop of Leicester and the Diocese Board of Education in order to mediate between DLAT and parents/carers of pupils before any final restructuring decisions had been made, most significantly to make the school’s Head Teacher, Mr Edy O’Connor, redundant.
Following attempts at mediation, during which Alberto and the Diocese Board of Education requested that DLAT pause their restructuring until parents/carers had been properly consulted, it is understood that DLAT have ignored these calls and have instead proceeded with their restructuring, informing Mr O’Connor of his redundancy earlier this week.
Alberto said, “My office met with the leadership of DLAT last week to discuss their plans for Swinford Primary and to inform them of my concerns regarding their lack of consultation and communication with parents and carers over the proposed changes at the school. Following this meeting, it was understood that DLAT would strongly consider pausing this process, as advised by myself and the Diocese Board of Education, instead however they have decided to ignore this advice and press ahead with their plans. I am extremely disappointed with the way DLAT have conducted themselves and this process; there has been very little in the way of communication with parents, and they have now ignored all outside advice intended to calm the situation and are now continuing this process in spite of the very negative reactions they have received”.
Alberto added, “My office has been inundated with correspondence from constituents concerned over DLAT’s actions. Having now seen the way the Trust have conducted themselves, I entirely understand these concerns; DLAT have consistently failed parents and carers throughout their restructuring process, they have not been open and honest with parents, and they have not considered the very reasonable suggestions my office and the Bishop of Leicester have given them. This now leaves me no choice but to raise this matter in the House of Commons with the Education Secretary. Unless DLAT reconsider their decision to pause this process and properly consult with parents and carers, then I will not hesitate to inform Parliament of DLAT’s very poor conduct and formally raise this with the Secretary of State”.
Picture above shows Alberto speaking in the House of Commons.