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Academy plan dropped after Turkey outcry

Dr Annabel Kay, headteacher at Warriner School

Dr Annabel Kay, headteacher at Warriner School

Governors of the Warriner, Hornton and Sibford schools have withdrawn from a plan to become an academy following bad publicity about its 
proposed Turkish sponsor.

Parents who had been given reports about the attractions of the schools’ tie-in with Mentora Academies Trust and BAU Foundation – created in August as the trust vehicle for the process – have now been told their promises were failing to materialise.

Governors are expected to confirm the reversal at a meeting today (Thursday).

Warriner head Dr Annabel Kay resigned as a BAU Foundation director last week along with its chair, Lord Bishard.

The academy plan, which would have meant the schools leaving Oxfordshire County Council, was headed by Turkish private education provider Enver Hocel, whose practices were questioned in a long and bitter blog by Fiona Millar at www.schoolsnetwork.co.uk/2013/12

Dr Kay said: “We thought Mentora had been vetted and approved by the Department for Education.

“The sponsor scrutiny process should be robust and we trusted that.

“I have had growing concerns for a few weeks and I’m grateful that the public has voiced those concerns.

“It could have been a fantastic opportunity. Lord Bishard has a large address book and could have put us in touch with best national practice. It takes longer if you do it yourself.”

Dr Kay, who went on a sponsor-funded trip to Turkey this summer to give a speech and see the sponsor’s business, said her concerns had been around the pace and delivery of structures and financial systems.

When asked if she had told parents a stand-alone academy could have been considered from the start, she said she had taken a meeting of parents through ‘a journey’ about the issues of academy status, becoming a multi-school academy and having a sponsor.

“You include what you think is pertinent at the time,” she said.

“What parents took away from that I can’t comment on.”

 

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