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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Failure of city academy serves as stark warning

ANXIOUS Barrow parents and other people in the town believe plans for the town’s academy are being rushed.

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ROGER TITCOMBE

And they fear that could lead to the chaos experienced in Carlisle. As a result, they want the opening of the school to be put back a year – from September 2009 to September 2010.

Roger Titcombe, press officer for Our Schools Are Not For Sale, said the sponsors should have called off the interviews for the principal’s job last week.

Mr Titcombe said Ofsted’s criticisms of “accelerated plans” at the Richard Rose Central Academy says everything and should serve as a stark warning.

He said: “The Central Academy situation happened because it was a rush job.

“This is the worst Ofsted report for a school that I have ever seen. It is a failure on a massive and unprecedented scale.

“It is crazy and irresponsible to press on with planning to open an academy in Barrow for 2009. I would imagine the £135,000 principal’s salary is as much danger money because of the high risk.

“We have been told that we don’t need to worry about Carlisle because Carlisle is not Barrow and that the other academies in Cumbria are working. Time will tell.

“But one absolute failure out of three isn’t exactly encouraging. It’s not a risk anyone would take.”

Mr Titcombe, a retired headteacher of Alfred Barrow School, said: “For more than 12 months Barrow parents and the community have been calling for more information about how the academy will be run and details about admissions, curriculum and other policies. If there are any doubts about the poor planning, look at the Barrow academy website.

“If you click the headings, it says no decision has yet to be made. Nothing has changed. Right from the very start there has been no enthusiasm about an academy in Barrow. They said the opposition would die away. But it’s the opposite – Barrow people are even more opposed to an academy now.”

Sponsors Furness College, Barrow Sixth Form College and the University of Cumbria -will discuss their plans for the new school at a series of consultation meetings starting next week.

Mr Titcombe said admissions is a key area the sponsors have to give details on.

He said: “We’re expecting full information about admissions, not just which children will be admitted to the academy, but how do they decide which children go to which site?

“What will be the catchment area of the academy?”

“And in September 2009 which children who applied for Parkview will be moved to Thorncliffe to fill up the empty places?”

OSANFS is holding a public meeting at 7pm on Thursday at the Cemetery Cottages Club, in Schneider Road, Barrow. All are welcome to attend.

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