Commenting on news that the Interim Executive Board (IEB) at St Philip’s Church of England Aided Primary School in Romsey, Cambridgeshire, has decided not to convert it into an academy, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“We are pleased to hear that the Interim Executive Board (IEB) at St Philip’s Primary School has decided not to convert the school into an academy or make it join a multi-academy trust (MAT).

“We congratulate the parents, teachers and members of the community who made sure that their voices were heard and their concerns were listened to. Unfortunately, the Government has created a system in which these voices are normally marginalised and ignored. All too often academy status is forced upon schools and their communities with no consultation at all.

“This is a powerful example of what can be achieved when parents and teachers stand up for their local school and oppose the Government’s academy agenda. The IEB also deserves credit for recognising the concerns of the community, and deciding not to join a multi-academy trust.”

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner eloquently and forthrightly described the situation in Parliament this week when, in reference to St Philip’s, he said: "there must be something wrong with a process whereby parents, staff and the local community feel that they are just being informed about significant changes to a key local institution, but not involved in any meaningful way."

The IEB today (12 January) told parents of its intention not to pursue academisation and to recommend that St Philip’s School should remain as a maintained school with the Local Authority where it was receiving a high level of support. It cited as one of the reasons for the decision ‘the very strongly held opinions of different complexions of the parents and local community who are very satisfied with how the school is progressing under the Headteacher and Local Authority.’

A few months ago parents had been told there was no alternative, and that the school would have to become an academy. In today’s letter the IEB concluded that it ‘could not find any compelling evidence that converting to an academy would bring any additional benefits to the school or outweigh the benefits of staying with the Local Authority.’