1. ITV Report

Parents protest at changes planned for Portland school

Parents protest outside the IPACA Academy Credit: ITV News

A school in Dorset was the venue for an angry demonstration today as parents protested against it being joined with other academies around the country. The Isle of Portland Aldridge Academy is due to become part of a London-based trust next year.

A number of jobs have already gone and parents and teachers say there's been no consultation over the move. They fear the loss of local control of the school.

The protesters are angry at the Aldridge Foundation Credit: ITV News

Parents say they feel let down by the Aldridge Foundation, a charity that supports the academy school.

I was devastated when I heard they were going to force us to become part of their multi-academy trust. Taking control back to London, being controlled by suits rather than concerned parents and community members. I really believe that local governance and controls is essential for our schools and it is something we are going to fight for.

– debbie smith, Parent

It's upsetting for everybody. These are our kids, this is our future. Our little futures are ready to go into this world and make a better life for eveybody and they are all ready to stomp on it. It can't happen, it's not fair.

– sarah stafford, Parent

Parents are angry at plans to move the school under the umbrella of a multi academy trust, or MAT. The single trust will potentially manage eight academies around the country. Both the chairman and vice chairman of governors have resigned in protest.

What this is proposing is having a MAT when the nearest school is in Brighton. How can we share resources, how can we share staff, how can we share best practice with a school that is so different, so fundamentally different from what we are, so geographically different from where we are, it doesn't make any sense to us.

– matt longshaw, Former Vice Chair of Governors

IPACA was formed four years ago when five schools on Portland came together as an academy.

"The idea of this school has been controversial from the outset. All but one of the island's primary schools signed up to be part of it. As did Portland's only secondary school, so it means there is very little alternative for parents and pupils on the island."

The academy's principal says they are under academic and financial pressure.

Aldridge Education Multi-Academy Trust has a vision that all of its academies are unique. There's not one set model and that's very important to us here at IPACA.

But also that will be allowed to happen as long as education here is robust and improved and we know that at the moment the education has historically not been good enough and we know that it needs to improve and it needs to improve rapidly.

– JOSS HAYES, Principal, IPACA
The Isle of Portland Aldridge Academy is due to become part of a London-based trust next year Credit: ITV News