Letter to Michael Gove about the problems at Millbank Primary Academy

Parents are very worried about the situation at Millbank Primary Academy and have asked Labour Councillors to help them secure an investigation into the Futures Group, which controls the school along with three other schools in the area – Pimlico Academy, Churchill Gardens Primary Academy and Pimlico Primary Academy – and is run by Education Minister Lord Nash and his wife.

Here is the letter we have sent to Michael Gove

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London
SW1P 3BT

Dear Mr Gove

Millbank Academy

I am writing to let you know of my very serious concerns about the situation at Millbank Academy.

As you may know, Millbank’s acting head teacher, Diane George, has been moved across to take over as head teacher of Churchill Gardens school from January. This is the latest in a long line of recent events at the school.
1. First Millbank lost day-to-day management by its head teacher Alyson Russen, who was promoted to be executive head of Millbank, Pimlico Primary and Churchill Gardens in September and spends much of her time out of Millbank Academy.
2. The school then lost its acting deputy head, Kelly Teddy, who was moved across to Pimlico Primary when Annaliese Briggs resigned just one month into this term.
3. The school has now lost its acting headteacher to Churchill Gardens.
4. In addition, the SENCo has also resigned.

The result of all of these changes in the last few months, is that there is no one in full-time, day-to-day control of Millbank Academy. This is even more worrying when you consider that the leadership structure that was so highly praised in the Outstanding May Ofsted inspection has completely disappeared from the day-to-day operation of the school.

Furthermore, the successful, popular and locally-developed creative curriculum that had been used for the last few years (and was responsible for the Outstanding OFSTED report) was scrapped in September by the Futures management and has yet to be replaced. Teachers are literally having to write the curriculum as they go along. You will not be surprised to know that this is not working and staff morale is at rock bottom.

My concerns also relate to those of parents who have contacted me about their fears. One parent tells me that she “is up in arms as her children, and other kids in the school, suddenly do not want to go. They are crying as they enter school. The teachers know the curriculum is crap and are forced to work with it and everyone is very unhappy. I am not sure if you know that many parents are ringing around to other schools – St. Gabriel’s, Burdett-Coutts, St. George’s Hanover Square, St. Barnabas, trying to move their children out of Millbank.”

Parents have also asked me what would happen if an emergency occurred at the school, given the absence of day-to-day management of Millbank School.

I have already alerted Westminster City Council’s Chief Executive about my general concerns about the stewardship of the schools controlled by Futures and am copying this to him and his senior colleagues, as well as to the Leader of Westminster City Council and other Councillors.

I originally wrote to the Prime Minister about my concerns and the need for an independent inquiry in to the Futures Group. Your complacent response to my earlier letter reinforces my view that you are not the right person to deal with these matters as Lord Nash, the founder of Futures, is one of your Ministers and you will remain loyal to him whatever information you receive from me, from parents or from anyone else.

I am therefore copying this letter to Mr Cameron in the hope that good sense can triumph over blind party political loyalty. The education of the children at the schools controlled by the Futures Group is far too important.

yours sincerely

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg
Leader of the Labour Group

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6 Responses to Letter to Michael Gove about the problems at Millbank Primary Academy

  1. susanemilygriffiths says:

    Sgriffiths@cgprimary.co.uk

    Sent from Samsung Mobile on O2

  2. James says:

    Reblogged this on James's space and commented:
    This is a case when the ‘structure’ of an academy chain’s idea of what to do with good leaders and heads and how the schools are then run by that chain seem to outweigh the imnportance of the child in the academy. This sponsor is an Education Minister for goodness sake! This is what happens when amateurs and ‘business’ people try to run education.

  3. Reblogged this on Save Our Schools NZ and commented:
    When a school is run by the education minister and this is what they find acceptable, you have to worry. Deregulation and school reforms worldwide seem to be about putting money into the pockets of those already in power, and little to do with improving education for children. Be warned, New Zealand.

  4. Martin says:

    Hello Paul,

    It is a few years since you wrote your letter. I am considering Millbank Primary school for my son, could you update us on any responses you have had and update us on whether the situation has improved?

    Thanks
    Martin

    • Martin

      Thanks. We posted this item in May this year
      Millbank Academy

      We have asked the Council to investigate the situation at the school after receiving this message from a resident:

      “I was approached by a number of Millbank Academy parents. They are trying to find an alternative Primary School. Apparently the Head has resigned and the Deputy of Pimlico Academy too. Since the Academy system was introduced we seem to experience one crisis after the other and today’s situation is a repetition of previous episodes. My neighbour has 2 children at Millbank and asked me today to help her to find a different school. She tells me that the parents have been exposed to s roller coaster of changes on teaching focus. Stressed out teachers have been leaving. The Head told me earlier this year that she is struggling to replace the good teachers she is loosing. Housing and commuting difficulties play a part in this too.”

      The Council say:

      “We have been informed that that the Head has not resigned but is retiring after 22 successful years as headteacher of the school, and we understand that she may return in some advisory capacity to support the school once she has had a good break. The deputy head at Pimlico Academy meanwhile has resigned as he has been successful in securing his first Headship. In both instances these leaders are leaving for normal and acceptable reasons and appropriate steps are being taken to replace these school leaders. A senior leader from Quintin Kynaston has been appointed to be the new Head at Millbank. The school recognises that staff turnover is an issue but they are looking at lots of ways of reducing this, including becoming a centre for school led teacher training. Children’s services has confidence in the leadership provided for Millbank and Pimlico primaries by Future Academies. Both schools at their most recent Ofsted school inspections were judged to be providing an outstanding quality of education.”

      I hope that this is helpful

      regards

      Paul

    • FIONA says:

      Hi Martin,
      I had my kid in Milbank two years back and I am happy to confirm that I have managed to take my child out of the most horrible school I have ever known. As a someone who works in education, I was disgusted and horrified by the staff, management and curriculum. The school is only running because the majority of the parents, who are not from the UK and do not have an experience or an expectation of how a ‘real British school’ should be, do not leave or complaint. Staff are disrespectful to chidren, they called them names and they are rude to them; parents are coehercise to ‘comply’ or ;leave’ and the children’s management is confused with punishment and antiqued mannerism.
      In my case, I have taken my child out but I do hear friends and neighbour who have issues with the school, you would not believe are even possible. I DO NOT recommend Millbank for your child or for ANY CHILD – if you wish to grow a happy, independent and confident child. I do recommend any other school expect Millbank.
      Wish you luck with your kid!
      Fiona

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