Anger as observer barred from viewing academy poll count
A LEADING trade unionist is angry that an independent observer has been barred from attending the count of a poll on whether or not a Derby school should become an academy.
Dave Wilkinson, who is the city branch secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said that he had asked the interim executive board at Sinfin Community School that an independent teller be allowed to view the responses and this was rejected.
He said: "What has the board got to hide from parents in refusing to allow an independent teller to be present when their responses are counted?
"Parents, the staff and the wider community will be sceptical of any claims of transparency from the board over the outcome of the consultation."
A consultation over the change was carried out after the Government parachuted an interim executive board into the school, ousting the governing body, to oversee possible academy conversion. The consultation ended last Monday.
A series of meetings has been held over the past four weeks and parents and stakeholders had been asked to vote over whether the school should become an academy under sponsors Greenwood Dale Trust or stay in city council control.
The board is due to report the outcome of the consultation to Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove next Friday.
Mr Wilkinson said: "I have asked for a copy of this, but I am told that this is a matter for the Secretary of State.
"If the board or the Secretary of State refuses to release the report, it is yet another example of Sinfin parents, staff and pupils being ruled by secret central government diktat."
Mr Wilkinson said that parents had expressed concern over the safety of the responses and whether they would be reported fairly.
No-one from the trust or school was available to comment on the situation.