Parents ask Bury Council to lobby government against controversial Elton Primary academy plans

Bury Times: Elton Primary School Elton Primary School

Parents have called on Bury Council to lobby the government in a bid to reverse the decision to turn Elton Primary School into an academy.

Members of protest group Save Elton Primary School used public question time at last Wednesday’s full council meeting at Bury Town Hall to raise the issue with Cllr Mike Connolly.

Cllr Connolly was asked if he would write to Education Secretary Michael Gove to reconsider the decision.

Cllr Connolly, who along with other Labour councillors attended a demonstration at the school on December 2, said he would be more than happy to petition Mr Gove, and that he is fully behind their protests.

He said: “I have visited the school and spoke to the teachers, governors, parents and pupils and I can tell you, this is not a failing school. “ In addition, Elton parent governor Paul Sandiford asked why Conservative councillors were not backing their campaign.

Bury North Tory MP David Nuttall has come out in favour of the controversial plans, as have Bury’s Conservative councillors.

Tory councillors did not have the opportunity to answer, as only the leader of the council can respond to public questions.

In a statement to the meeting, Cllr Connolly also criticised the planned academisation after it was revealed that Bury is the highest placed local authority in the North West on Ofsted’s Secondary Education table.

Cllr Connolly said: “I am not sure Michael Gove will be too happy to read that, given how few academies we have here in Bury.

“There may be a correlation between the local authority that has the least number of academies being the highest performer.”

Elton is the second local primary school to be turned into an academy, following Radcliffe Primary, which is set to be converted on January 1.

The process for Elton to be turned into an academy will continue on January 28, when Gena Merrett, a Department for Education adviser, will attend the school to hand over papers.

If governors object at that meeting, the current board could be replaced by an interim executive board to force through the change.

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