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East of England Liberal Democrats

Mayor Dave Hails Parents Fighting HEART Multi Academy Trust's 'Alarming and Damaging' School Plans

October 11, 2018 6:23 PM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Mayor Dave Hodgson by the River in BedfordMayor Dave Hodgson has praised parents fighting against HEART Multi Academy Trust's 'alarming and extremely damaging plans' to remove Head Teachers and scrap local governing bodies from Cauldwell, Shortstown and Shackleton schools. Mayor Dave's comments came following a huge turnout by parents at last night's Full Council meeting, where over 150 people were in attendance to demonstrate their opposition to HEART's plans.

They were assured by Mayor Dave that they have his and the Council's full backing. He set out the Council's severe concerns about the plans, and announced that he would be calling directly on the Department for Education to step in halt the process, and carry out mediation with ALL interested parties including parents, local governing bodies and the HEART MAT board. He made that request to the DFE today.

Commenting in in a post on his Facebook page, Mayor Dave wrote:

"An incredible, tremendously heartening turnout at last night's Full Council meeting by parents concerned about the shocking plans of the HEART Multi Academy Trust to remove the Head Teachers from Cauldwell, Shackleton and Shortstown Primary Schools and to remove the local governing bodies from those schools. The passion and commitment of parents in opposition to these alarming and extremely damaging plans is immense.

In answer to questions, I told those parents that we stand firmly alongside them in opposition to these proposals. The likelihood of the loss of experienced, high quality senior staff and potential knock-on impact on the wider staff bodies could be devastating for the education of local children.

Quite simply, the way parents, staff and the wider community have been treated by HEART, which is sponsored by the Harpur Trust, so far is totally unacceptable.

We have called for the HEART Academy Trust to halt the plans immediately. I informed residents last night that I would be contacting the Department for Education (DfE) and requesting that they mediate with ALL interested parties including parents, local governing bodies and the HEART MAT board.

I have done so today and have also requested that the DfE step in and halt the process until mediation can take place.

I also want to thank the unions and parents for the way that the campaign against these plans has hit the ground running. I have encouraged people to sign the petition set up by parents, which you can find if you click below. Please sign and share!

http://www.councillorsupport.bedford.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=1052&RPID=49412737&HPID=49412737 "