Academy where sponsor withdrew had faced staff industrial action

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A TEACHING UNION had balloted for strike action in protest at what it claimed was oppressive management and workload at an academy whose sponsor withdrew suddenly last month.

Sandhill Multi-Academy Trust sent a letter to parents at Brookfield Primary Academy, in Swinton, informing them of its decision to withdraw from the school.

Its executive headteacher and head of school both left the following week.

When asked why the decision had been taken, the trust referred The Yorkshire Post to the Government’s regional school commissioner – a new role created to provide local decision-making over academies and free schools for the Department for Education (DfE). The DfE said Sandhill had decided it would no longer sponsor the school, but did not say why.

Now it has emerged the National Union of Teachers (NUT) had been set to take strike action at Brookfield over what it called oppressive management and workload.

The DfE has chosen Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) 
to take over as the school’s sponsor.

In a message to members, Rotherham NUT’s divisional secretary, Fred Sprague, said talks with the new WCAT management had been fruitful, adding: “Teachers at the school are very pleased, and look forward to helping move the school forward.”

Last month, WCAT’s chief executive Alan Yellup said the trust had been approached by the regional schools commissioner about taking over. Hedd Williams, who is currently working for WCAT at Havercroft Academy, will be Brookfield’s associate head.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last month that the administering of Sats tests at Brookfield was being overseen by the Government’s Standards and Testing Agency (STA). The STA investigated Sats tests at Brookfield last year, but did not find evidence of maladministration.

Sandhill Multi Academy Trust said last month the allegations which led to the investigation at Brookfield last year had been unfounded and it had asked STA to come in for this year’s tests. The STA said it was sending officials to Sandhill trust’s schools because “the trust had challenges to overcome in terms of the administration of Sat..