by Press Officer on 13 November, 2012
As teachers strike for an unprecedented third time at Worthing High in opposition to the plans for it to become an academy, WHAAG has asked the Department for Education to rescind the school’s Academy Order because of the misleading and invalid nature of the school’s academy application that we can now reveal.
At the crucial meeting on the 30th May at which the Governing body voted to progress it’s application for academy status, it was legally necessary for the decision to be supported by the Worthing High School Trust Board. Although a meeting of the Trust Board was held immediately after the Governors meeting and the Trust Board voted in favour of academy status, there were insufficient members of the Trust Board in attendance for the vote to be valid. The Worthing High Articles of Association clearly state that a minimum of half of the Trustees must vote, and therefore, five members should have been in attendance for a vote to be valid. Only four Trustees were present at this meeting, as per the minutes of the meeting that we have seen.
This matter is now the subject of a legal challenge by the NUT and WHAAG have requested an investigation by the DfE or other appropriate body.
Mr Cohen the Chair of Governors has either knowingly progressed an invalid and misleading academy application or presided over mind boggling incompetence. Whichever of these is true, we believe he should now resign and for the sake of all of the school’s stakeholders the academy bid should be stopped.
Worthing High’s academy bid under Mr Cohen’s leadership has been littered by examples of mismanagement and incompetence:
• Botched initial consultation on academy conversion with stakeholders
• Flawed academy proposal with incorrect and misleading information
• DfE requirement to consult further (31/08/12) has been ignored
• Governor academy bid votes leaked to Tim Loughton MP (ex Children’s Minister) who subsequently broadcast these on Twitter
• Series of governor resignations – of the original eleven governors who voted on the academy proposal on 30/5/12, only five now remain
• Three days of teacher strike action
• Two investigations at the school, resulting in Head teacher, Alison Beer’s, resignation