Sandy Hill Academy and Nursery is a vibrant, exciting community offering many opportunities for educational and personal development. Our children and staff are extremely proud of their school and we hope our enthusiasm and commitment to your child’s education comes across on our website.
Last Monday, we held three meetings for all the staff and unions to attend. It went very well. Everybody was well informed and professional. The NASUWT and Unison were very well represented. The NUT rep turned up for the middle meeting, had misunderstood the nature of the meetings (given that he had not been able to make the previous ones might explain why he wasn't prepared), he then left. He didn't attend the one where most of the NUT teaching staff attended later that same day which was held at the end of school, at 3.00.
The following Monday I was in London at a meeting. My phone rang. A St Austell number. Not the school (thank goodness, seeing that number come up whilst I am away can create quite a surge of adrenalin).
The meeting was being held on the top floor of Sanctuary Buildings, the DfE's headquarters overlooking Westminster Cathedral. Sanctuary is a substantial building where they don't have solid walls, they are all made of glass, glass everywhere, you can see clear across the building, to the offices the other side where there are other meetings happening. People walking passed always stare curiously in at you as they wander to the water cooler or kettle. If the meeting lulls you can too often find yourself gazing over the vast atrium into conference rooms the other side of the building, watch and wonder as ministers and civil servants come and go, curious to know what they are discussing and when, whatever it is, will hit us in schools.
Anyway, the phone rang. Having just received a message that the Cornish Guardian was 'desperate' to talk to me I suspected that I knew who it would be. So I left the meeting, at a fairly crucial stage it has to be said. The next speaker leads on the supply of essential learning resources for school staff, when they would be ready, and a time scale for having them placed in a digital format onto the brand new DfE website.
I left the room. It was a colleague warning me that the NUT were on the war path making a series of utterly unsubstantiated accusations about Academies. I rang the Cornish Guardian. They were also calm and professional. Like me they were equally confused as to why the NUT were so vehemently opposed to Academies, and why they would suggest that resources destined for Poltair were now being taken by Sandy Hill, a concept so utterly ridiculous it beggars belief. Is there a faint whiff of malice to be detected in the NUT's attitude in all this? Surely not.
The Director of Children and Schools in Cornwall has already made it abundantly clear that our move to academy status will have zero impact on schools budgets. So why has the NUT behaved so badly? Why does the thought of us having new toilets, and a stable budget offend them so much? Who, exactly are they representing? Given that the Cornwall rep didn't even stay to talk to his members here would suggest that it's not their union membership. So who then? I have no idea, perhaps others might.
Let's bear in mind that whatever extra money we get will be destined to keep the NUT teachers here in employment, pay for additional services, and ensure that two dreadful toilet blocks are fully refurbished.
In June I invited all the unions to come along with us on this new journey, including the NUT, to be a part of this transition process, and ensure that all their members were well catered for, and protected at all times. Evidently the NUT saw fit to ignore this and have taken their own route. Good luck to them, I feel that they might need it. As far as we are concerned we will ensure a seamless transition, with no detriment to staff or children. Perhaps the NUT might like to contact me direct and learn alongside us what becoming an Academy really means?