MP “uncomfortable” with academy plans

Chapel Primary School
Chapel Primary School

High Peak MP Andrew Bingham has hit out at proposals to force Chapel-en-le-Frith Primary School to become an academy, saying he finds the plans “uncomfortable.”

The school was placed in special measures last year after an Ofsted inspection rated it as inadequate. Following this, Lord Nash, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Schools, then wrote to headteacher Trevor Smith outlining his intention to make the school an academy which would place it under the governance of the Diocese of Derbyshire.

Mr Bingham said: “I am generally supportive of academies and this is a debate that can be had as a principle or in relation to a specific school. However, the situation at Chapel is specific, and one that I have taken great interest in.

“I have made it very clear to Lord Nash that, whilst I am supportive of academies, I would prefer to see them created in agreement with local people rather than imposed. The legislation does allow an Academy Order to be made by the Secretary of State and I can see the general merits in having this power, but I would wish to see it used judiciously. I do not believe that this process is appropriate at this time for Chapel Primary School, and I have stressed this to Lord Nash both verbally and in writing.

“I am uncomfortable with the potential issuing of an academy order for Chapel Primary School at this time, as I believe that not only should that decision be up to the parents, teachers and governors of the school based on what they believe to be right following a proper informed debate, but also because I have grave misgivings over the findings of the Ofsted inspection, and I have expressed this view to Lord Nash.”