Shock as governors are given the boot

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In a shock move to the start of the new term the governing body of Robert Bloomfield Middle School has been sacked.

Board members received a letter dated September 4 stating the body had been disbanded by the school’s umbrella body Bedfordshire East Multi Academy Trust (BEMAT).

The former governors, who Ofsted rated as Outstanding in its last three inspections, are reviewing their options after being ordered not to speak publically about the shock dismissal.

However, in a statement to parents they said: “Last week, the Bedfordshire East Multi-Academy Trust Board wrote to all members of the Robert Bloomfield Academy Governing Body dismissing them with immediate effect.

“Under our stewardship, Robert Bloomfield was rated Outstanding in three consecutive Ofsted inspections and awarded the prestigious responsibility of running the Central Bedfordshire Teaching School, managing school improvement for over 130 local schools.

“We very much regret that we will be unable to continue supporting the outstanding and dedicated staff and leaders – with whom we have always had an excellent, effective and mutually respectful relationship.”

The governors continued to offer their thanks to parents and families at the school for their support and “apologise that we have been prevented from communicating and consulting with them over issues we have raised with BEMAT and the Department of Education that concerned us”.

They added: “The educational welfare and achievement of local children, both at Robert Bloomfield and after they leave, has always been our primary objective and a responsibility we take very seriously indeed.

“Having been removed as governors, we no longer have an official capacity to further this work but – should parents wish it – we are willing to work on their behalf to ensure that they are fully informed, consulted and represented in these matters.”

As pupils returned this week, furious parents contacted The Chronicle after being left unsure about who was now running the school.

BEMAT defended its decision saying it “was not undertaken lightly and was the end result of several months of discussions about the future of Robert Bloomfield within BEMAT”. It said the move came after the governors had requested the school leave the multi-academy trust, which lead to the trust requesting an independent review of governance arrangements after consulting the Department for Education.

BEMAT said: “The review of governance took place in the last few weeks of the summer term. With the support of the DfE appointed advisor, the board of directors identified the steps they would take swiftly to address RBA’s concerns and to strengthen current governance practices. We also made a commitment to create a new CEO post for BEMAT.”

In early August, the trust asked the governing body to sign a written statement that it would “work constructively to progress the statement of intent” by the end of August.

However, as the Governors do not meet over the summer, the board advised BEMAT it would give a response immediately after its first meeting of the school year on September 7, just seven days after BEMAT’s deadline.

BEMAT added: “Regrettably, they did not provide that commitment and this failure to respond led to the board losing confidence that the RBA Governing Body – as a committee of the board - would continue to work constructively with and on behalf of BEMAT. This lack of confidence led to the board of directors’ difficult decision to stand them down.”

In addition to Robert Bloomfield Academy, BEMAT is responsible forGravenhurst Academy, Gothic Mede Academy and Langford Village Academy, Etonbury Academy and Samuel Whitbread Academy.