Following my last article in the Brightlingsea Flyer, I want to update local residents on the most recent developments with the Thrive Academy Partnership Trust which runs the Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea and Philip Morant School in Colchester.
Since I last reported back in the Flyer, I met the two Ministers for Schools from the Department for Education. Will Quince MP also attended the meeting as the MP with Philip Morant in his Colchester constituency.
Will and I made clear the concern of parents, pupils and teachers over the recent suspensions and ongoing investigation into two member of the Trust’s leadership. I raised the specific concerns raised by parents and staff, as did Will, and in particular referenced allegations of bullying of staff and students, issues of management, allegations regarding conduct during Ofsted inspections and other claims of impropriety made against the Trust’s management.
As I have stated previously, the primary focus must remain on ensuring that students are supported through the exam period. Beyond this, staff will also need support, to provide stability at this difficult time. After investigations have been carried out by the ministers, the time will come to identify how all this was allowed to happen. Changes must be made to ensure this do not happen again.
Since meeting the ministers, I have contacted those who contacted me about the Colne and Philip Morant. With their permission, I have fed their views in to the Minister’s office directly and these will all be considered in due course as investigations progress. The Department for Education are keeping me up to date and I will be relaying the information I receive to any constituents who have contacted me on this issue.
As of today (7th June), I understand Ofsted has visited both schools and the findings are being collated before being released. The investigation into the two suspended Trust members will continue throughout this month. An investigation has also been carried out into the Trust itself and further visits will take place this month.
Most importantly, I am informed both schools will be receiving additional support from other Academy Trusts at this difficult time. The Regional Schools Commissioner will be assisting the Trust in identifying where further support is needed and how it can be implemented, and the new interim leadership arrangements at both schools will help bring stability and support for parents and teachers.
I have been contacted by Mr Fox, Associate Head of School at the Colne, inviting me to the school. I am in the process of arranging a suitable date and at this meeting I will be making clear that the school and its dedicated staff have my full support. I shall provide an update in my next article for the Flyer.
Brightlingsea, Wivenhoe and Colchester Foodbanks
Last Friday, my wife Anne and I visited the Brightlingsea food bank to meet the volunteers and talk more about the tremendous work they do for the local community. We met the volunteers, not only from Brightlingsea but also from the Wivenhoe and Colchester foodbanks, who selflessly give their time to help others. The quiet dedication of the volunteers is striking, and I do encourage you to consider supporting them. Foodbanks provide so much more than just a bit of food. The advice and support available is invaluable. You might not think there are many people in Brightlingsea who need foodbanks, but they are there. Many people do not realise what help and support is on offer from these outstanding volunteers.