When news happens, text BONEWS and your photos to 80360 or phone 01204 537274
Parents protest outside Elton Primary School over academy plans
MORE than 100 demonstrators assembled outside Elton Primary School to greet a government adviser with chants and protest songs.
The Alston Street school is set to be forced to become an academy, and Gena Merrett, a Department for Education adviser, attended the school for a meeting with governors.
She outlined the process which will be taken for the school to become an academy, and will return on January 28 to hand over official papers for the transition to be completed.
If governors object to this decision, it is understood that the current board of governors would be replaced be an interim executive board to force through the change.
Parents, councillors and pupils all attended on Monday night, and just as Ms Merrett arrived they broke out into chants, including “Academy, no way”, “What do we want, consultation” and “We love Elton”.
Ms Merrett had to listen to the songs for a few minutes, as she could not get into the locked school.
Academies are independently-run schools, which are set up to take over schools which are regarded as failing.
Lisa Weaver, of the Save Elton Primary School group, said the protest was about sending a message to the Government.
She said: “We wanted to make a statement, and show that we will not roll over.”
Elton headteacher Tony Emmott and Bury Council have come out against the move.
Bury Council leader Mike Connolly, who attended the demonstration, said he wanted to back parents.
He said: “We have to support the parents because we are totally opposed to the forced academisation of this school.
“It is just an ideological thing, and it has become political. We want this school to remain as part of the Bury family.”
Elton councillor James Frith added: “I don’t think anything forced is a good idea. The school is on the up and rather than persecuting it we should be supporting it.”
Parents Graham and Karen Scotson also attended the demonstration, and said they feared that the changes could impact their 10-year-old daughter Anna’s academic performance.
Mr Scotson said: “She doesn’t like change, especially at this stage of the game, when examinations are coming up. The school is all right as it is.”
Mohammed Khan, of Sharples Drive, Walshaw, whose daughter 12-year-old daughter Anisah has now moved to Elton High, said their family received a great deal of support from the school at a difficult time.
He said: “Two years ago my daughter had bone cancer, and this school made her life comfortable, and I am very grateful for all the support we received. I think it is very unfair what they are doing. All my children have been to this school, even my wife did, and I feel very strongly about this protest.
Anisah added: “I think it is a really good school, and I really enjoyed it, it was really fun here.”
The school was placed in special measures by Ofsted inspectors in May, and follows the lead of Radcliffe Primary, which is set to become an academy on January 1.
Comments are closed on this article.