Local Councillors Ruth Milsom and Minesh Parekh campaigned with parents of children at the historic King Edward VII school, and local Labour MPs, to fight off a forced academisation order – and won.

Parents, pupils, and staff were shocked when King Edward VII school’s ‘Good’ overall rating turned to ‘Inadequate’ overnight, following an Ofsted inspection in September 2022 that raised safeguarding concerns. National rules dictate that if a school received an ‘inadequate’ rating for safeguarding, the entire school evaluation must be ‘inadequate’, and a compulsory Academy Order is immediately issued – even if all other criteria are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

The parent-led campaign focused on the school’s particular strengths and characteristics that enable their children to flourish, and raised concerns that a take-over by a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) could destroy the very qualities that led them to choose KES.

Labour Councillors and MPs were pro-active in writing to the Secretary of State and Regional Director, underlining parents’ concerns, pressing for a timely re-inspection by Ofsted to evaluate safeguarding improvements, and standing squarely against the forced academisation order.

In May 2023 Ofsted carried out a re-inspection and graded KES ‘Good’ overall, negating the basis for the Academy Order. Continued pressure from campaigners resulted in the Order eventually being lifted on 20th July.

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