Who’s running Sandy Upper School?

Sandy Upper School
Sandy Upper School

A school community is being rocked by another sudden change in management.

The Barnfield Federation has been pulled out of Sandy Upper School – and nobody has been able to tell the Chronicle who will be running the school next week.

The Department for Education confirmed that ministers have halted Barnfield’s expansion.

The federation arrived at Sandy in September after a turbulent academic year at the upper school.

The aim was for Barnfield to be the school’s official sponsor as an academy but this had been delayed.

The DfE’s decision times with allegations of financial irregularities within the Barnfield Federation.

Police are assessing a government report into the federation to determine whether there should be a criminal investigation.

The BBC professes to have seen a leaked copy of the report alleging that Barnfield claimed nearly £1m for students which it has no record of teaching and lost £1.25m in failed projects.

Barnfield will not comment until it is published.

In the meantime it is unclear who will run the school after the half term holidays with the school, Barnfield, Central Beds Council and the DfE all declining to answer.

In a letter to parents Richard Banks, chair of governors, wrote: “We have been advised that the Barnfield Federation has been withdrawn as the school’s designated sponsor.

“However, governors have secured additional financial resources from the DfE to support the continued leadership of the school until the end of the academic year.”

The school’s governors have been working on an alternative plan since the end of November, he said, with a focus on ensuring continuity in leadership and management.

He continued: “We recognise the huge impact Balraj Hare and her team have had upon the school and we shall be working hard to secure outstanding leadership for the longer term.”

A Department for Education spokesman confirmed: “Ministers have decided to pause the expansion of the Barnfield Federation.

“We are working closely with the governing body to ensure that alternative sponsorship arrangements are put in place quickly. We are determined to ensure the children at Sandy Upper School get the best possible education.”

Central Beds Councillor Mark Versallion, executive member for children’s services, said he is “very concerned” about the change.

But, he said: “I have every confidence in the school as it continues to make progress and teach children to a high standard. Whatever organisational challenges there may be, what we all need to stay focused on is quality teaching.

“The council will continue to support the school in any new arrangements that the DfE may propose in the coming weeks.”

A Barnfield spokesman would only say: “The Barnfield Federation is withdrawing from its sponsorship of Sandy Upper School. We wish Sandy Upper every success in its development journey and look forward to working with the school in the future.”