‘Trust running Spalding school should honour £200,000 pitch pledge’

Ex-governor Chris Schofield says: 'We were a good governing body.'

Ex-governor Chris Schofield says: 'We were a good governing body.'

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The trust running Spalding’s Sir John Gleed School hopes to sanction refurbishment of an all-weather pitch after an ex-governor called for an investment pledge to be kept.

Chris Schofield has welcomed the step – and says continued investment in “good facilties” is needed to attract pupils to the school.

We hope to be able to authorise the refurbishment of the all-weather pitch later this academic year

CfBT chief executive Chris Tweedale

In a letter to the Free Press, Mr Schofield said when Gleed joined CfBT, it had prudently saved £3.5million towards projects like a new sports hall and reurbishment of an all-weather pitch, but he believed its cash had been used to support other less prudent schools.

He says CfBT chief executive Chris Tweedale promised at a governors’ meeting to authorise release of £200,000 for replacement of the pitch once academic improvements had been made by the school – and, now Ofsted has noted some improvements, he expected Mr Tweedale to honour his promise.

CfBT told us while all of its schools contribute to a contingency fund to help others in times of difficulty, “any reserves over and above the contingency level are ring-fenced for use by the individual school”.

The trust’s statement continues: “In Sir John Gleed’s case, there are substantial reserves over and above the contingency level for use by the school, some of which it is using for improvements in this academic year.

“As part of an ongoing financial review, we asked the school leadership to pause new capital projects, such as an all-weather pitch.

“We felt this was a reasonable request at a time when improving teaching and learning is the school’s most pressing concern.

“We hope to be able to authorise the refurbishment of the all-weather pitch later this academic year.”

Mr Schofield belonged to the governing body axed by the CfBT Schools Trust in November following an Oftsed monitoring inspection that said: “The leaders, the governing body and the CfBT Schools Trust have not made sure that the academy is well placed to be removed from serious weaknesses.”

Governors were replaced by the trust’s hand-picked Rapid Improvement Board (RIB) and, within days of governors being dismissed, an Ofsted monitoring inspection found “leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of serious weaknesses”.

Mr Schofield has congratulated “students and staff for the progress towards the removal of serious weaknesses”, but says the RIB had barely been formed when Ofsted’s December 8 monitoring visit took place “so can have played no part in its improvement”.

He called on Mr Tweedale to be “gracious enough” to acknowledge the role the disbanded governors, especially chairman David Rich, played in achieving improvement.

CfBT say: “We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our gratitude to the former governors for their valuable contribution to Sir John Gleed, and continue to welcome their input into ensuring the school delivers excellent education for all students.”

Mr Schofield highlighted Ofsted’s past criticism of CfBT’s role at Gleed, but the trust made no direct comment on that.

Previously ...

Governors are axed from Spalding’s Gleed school

Spalding’s Sir John Gleed drama goes to DfE

Spalding’s Sir John Gleed School turns corner on road to recovery