Parents protest against academy trust running Chingford primary school

More than 900 people have signed a petition to remove a trust which is currently running a primary school in Chingford.

Parents of children at Longshaw Primary have become dismayed by how the school is operating under Silver Birch Academy Trust, which has resulted in many staff and children leaving due to the way the trust is treating employees.

The school has suffered from a high staff turnover, with only four of the 14 classes not experiencing a change in teacher, with some children being educated by seven different teachers over a two-year period, leaving many parents worried for their development.

The petition is addressed to Regional Schools Commissioner Sue Baldwin, who has the power to remove the trust.

  • Katerina Mavroudis

Silver Birch has been investigated for financial mismanagement and it was found to have major failings. The Education and Skills Funding Agency, which carried out the investigation, remains unsure about the leadership and management and are unconvinced about their ability to turn things around.

The head of the trust has been further criticised for taking a trip to China and New Zealand at a cost of £6,000.

A recent Ofsted report said: "A lack of communication with parents and carers has left many feeling angry and frustrated."

Those running the petition say: "It demeans our school to be associated with an organisation like this, and we are no longer prepared to stand by while their immoral and inept behaviour risks damaging our children's life chances.

"The relationship between the school community and the trust has broken down irreparably. Parents are taking their children out of the school, leaving it dangerously underfunded. If this continues the school will cease to be viable. We love our school and we want to protect it, not just for our own children but for those that will follow. We have had enough and we urge the Regional Schools Commissioner to allow us to rebroker."

  • Parent Jo Lota

The Silver Birch Academy Trust said in a statement: "The Board of Silver Birch Academy Trust understands the concerns of parents and carers of its schools and is determined to take immediate action to ensure the best possible outcomes for pupils going forward.

"The Trust is working closely with the Department for Education and three new, independent trustees have been appointed with the support of the Department.

"We want to find out what has happened up to this point and our initial investigation is well advanced. However, the immediate priority is to find a way forward for the schools that will create a more stable and productive environment in which pupils can flourish. All options, including rebrokering, are being explored and the Trust will take appropriate action in response to the investigation findings.

"We know this will mean short term uncertainty but we will keep parents and carers updated on developments."