Saturday, 18 October 2008


Our vision in Trentham is for a way forward for our school that is appropriate for our community. The community has very close links with the school and families are highly involved in the children’s education. For this reason it makes perfect sense to form a cooperative trust of parents to link with the governing body of the school. Government ought to support us of course as this type of school is one of Ed Balls’ new bright ideas.

A trust school is a foundation school, with the addition of a link to a trust, in this case a cooperative of parents. A school with foundation status becomes the employer of the staff and the admissions authority for the school and takes ownership of the land and assets. The governors have more rights of appeal against LA decisions, in which case referral has to go to schools adjudicator.

A trust school is the right option for the Trentham and Hanford community, an academy is not. Councillor Ibbs always bangs on about us wanting to maintain the status quo, this along with our wish to federate with St. Joseph’s, shows that we clearly are not standing still, but want to move forward in the right direction. I am not surprised the council will be opposing the application, it’s what we’ve come to expect, but as usual they have no case whatever to make. Ged Rowney as usual can only resort to pathetic comments and says it “brings unnecessary additional distractions and pressure on staff and pupils at the school”. What he says is patently ludicrous! He really means it puts pressure on him – well tough. Staff and families are behind this. The council’s crazy idea to close Trentham High is what brings unnecessary distractions and pressure to staff, pupils and families.

The trust application has to be accompanied by an application for foundation status. The statutory procedure for that is underway. A side effect of that is that it secures the THS land which can not now be sold or developed whilst the procedure is ongoing. That’s one up for us against you Rowney, Ibbs, Meredith and Knight! Up until now we’ve done battle with the council, serco and central government. But now the council can not unilaterally block us from becoming a trust. Our case and their objection will have to go to the school’s adjudicator. Who will have the stronger case with them then?

We will persist in doing what is right for our school and our community. The council’s Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee has seen sense and wants Trentham High off the closure list. We are still waiting for the penny to drop in the slow brains of Meredith and his lot.

Save Trentham High!


brooneyes said...

We wish you the very best of luck.
Should you need the services of our councillors, let us know.

Tony said...

There is a train of thought that this issue could be sorted out quite easily. It just means a wee shift in the plans. What about this:
1)A new academy to be bulit on Blurton but instead of closing Trentham, close Edensor and split the ETC catchment are between Blurton and the new academy for ST Peters (to be built on the current 6th form site)
2)Refurb THS
3) Build a new academy on Mitchell for the catchment areas of Longton, Berryhil (who are not wanted by St Peters) and Mitchell.
SORTED! the solution is there it needs discussing. Would this be acceptable to the TAG?

nicky said...

Thanks. We are getting good support from your councillors. Michael Coleman continues to work hard, as he chaired the scrutiny committee that looked at the planned federation which we still want. Ellie and Alby Walker have both spoken out for us. We are also getting a good deal of support from no end of independent councillors including our own Terry Follows. It's just they are up against this Meredith brick wall.

The solution you suggest is an excellent one and I feel sure the TAG would be happy with it. It sounds very similar to something Rob Flello wanted to do about three ideas ago and I thought it was a great idea then and didn't see why he dropped it. But that's largely what it was about, locating the schools properly so that they all serve the geographical communities well and accord with what people actually want. (And doing a much better job than serco are paid a good deal of dosh to do by drawing lines on maps, regardless of railways, canals, main roads and real people's needs... but I'm going off on one aren't I.) Anyway back to the point. I think there could be some unhappiness from Edensor maybe because of that successor school deal that they did which may not apply? But it solves many people's issues (and Edensor shouldn't have sidelined the others anyway). It would obviously solve Trentham's problem as we could keep our school in the right place and have our trust and federation. As you know I feel that Longton High has had the most apalling treatment in all this and if it could help than that will be something at least. Blurton also have been messed about and promised a new school years ago and should get it. Mitchell and Berry Hill very sensibly worked out their own plan for a combined school and I feel they've been unfairly ignored in that, so a school on Mitchell that they want makes best sense. Only downside is with all these academies it might be a bit harder for schools to work together across the city, which I would like to see, because of the sponsor control, but if the other communities want academies then they should have them. So all in all a great solution. I just still don't quite understand why Rob Flello stopped pursuing that. If there was any chance he could pick it up again and be more forceful that would be good (my opinion of him has reached rock bottom and could use improvement). Trouble is he needs to steer well clear of Ibbs and this whole New Inn Lane thing. I don't know why he let Ibbs mess him about. We did try to ask him this at a TAG meeting and he went on about compromising but we didn't really see with what, as Ibbs seemed to be the only one person in favour of his own idea. So in any plan Ibbs just needs to be ignored. But even if we get Flello on side and ignore Ibbs, there is still the Meredith brick wall to be knocked down. Jim Knight wouldn't be a problem I don't think. As he's left it as a local issue I think if Mark Meredith decided this Jim Knight would just breathe a huge sigh of relief and draft out all those extra staff he must've drafted in to field communications received from angry TAG members and our lawyers. So what would the next step be? Rob Flello to have extremely robust conversation with Mark Meredith? Is he up to that? Should he take in a large contingent of independent and BNP councillors to back him up?

brooneyes said...

Tony, the educational nightmare that is the "Academy", isn't to be passed about like pass the parcel with a booby prize. These things will be no good for anyone, we should strike them from the list of necessary educational improvments, in all areas.

nita said...

Nicky, your statement of locating the schools in the right place, is so true.

Having driven down Trentham Road yesterday, the New Inn Lane site, is an absolute no go, for the pupils coming from Blurton. Blurton is a massive area, and let's not forget some pupils, will have to travel from Longton and Dresden, as Edensor will no longer be there. It is as bad, as asking the pupils from Hanford to go to Blurton.

The next point that entered my head when travelling up that road was, that we will have one school for Trentham/Blurton, then the next one is going to be the Park Hall Academy. That is some distance isn't it. I know we will have Thomas Moore, but not everyone will get entry to this school. A Faith School should remain that way, and not be forced to take other students, that is just my opinion.

Anyway, back to Trentham High. We are constantly informed that Trentham has to close because it will not have pupil numbers. That I can accept. However, it is totally wrong to lose a school that is performing so well. We should bend over backwards to leave these schools in place. BSF supposed to be about improving education, not shutting one of the best performing schools.
Now, the current plans you are putting forward, sounds a good way forward. However, if you gain this Trust School, with backing from the Government, it will still be owned by the local authority, so this confuses me a little. Will they still have the power to go ahead and close it anyway?

On the point of Rob Flello, he probably fully supports you, but as a Labour MP, he has to follow their policies, and has to support Mr Meredith, Labour Mayor. That is where politics sadly let's us down.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I know you've probably heard this before, but the school is only closing because it doesn't have 900 pupils.
The councils pupil projections are a complete joke.
Lets hope at next months meeting with PfS we finally get a chance of putting the record straight!
We have tried the "wee shift in the plans" route before. Guess what, Serco weren't interested.
I would forget about trying to use logic!

nita said...

Anonymous. Yes, I'm aware that Trentham does not have the required 900 pupils, to keep it open. This is where I do not agree, with this one size fits all.

I am all for improving education across the city, and for new buildings, but we should not be losing schools that are doing well.