Surrey schools in danger of closure

Failure to find sponsors raises questions over academisation process

There’s worrying news for staff, parents and pupils at schools in Godalming and Ripley in Surrey as two primary schools remain in danger of closure.

Green Oak Primary and Ripley CofE were mandated to become academies by the Department for Education after failing their respective Ofsted reports, but at the time of writing, there are no Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) which are willing to take incorporate the schools.

A spokesman for The Good Shepherd Trust, which is based in Guildford, stated that bringing Green Oak into the MAT may have ‘a detrimental effect on the services available to the schools and pupils already in its care’ and that it ‘could not viably become part of the trust’. The situation of the two schools highlights a bigger problem about this type of order; a Tes investigation in 2017 found that a quarter of schools forced to academise in this way were still yet to find a willing sponsor 12 months after being ordered to do so.

Around 200 people attended a public meeting on 5 March and despite widespread opposition, a spokesperson for Surrey County Council said at that meeting that they had ‘no choice’ but to consider the closure of Green Oak Primary.

In response, Nina Boyd, Schools Convenor for Surrey County UNISON, said:

‘It is an immensely worrying time for everyone connected to these schools, not least the children themselves. We at UNISON will do everything we can to support the parents and staff who are affected by this disappointing decision’.

Are you or someone you know affected by these proposed closures? Has your school been forced to academise but has struggled to find a Trust willing to take it on? Is your school in the process of moving from local authority control? If we can help with these or any other related issues then please get in contact with us by emailing UNISON Fighting Fund Local Organiser Patrick Young at .