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Cambridge Academic Partnership parents petition against schools joining United Learning


By Alex Spencer


A group of parents has started a petition against their schools becoming part of a nationwide multi-academy trust.

They are calling for the group of schools in their current academy trust – Cambridge Academic Partnership – to consider other options before joining national MAT United Learning and are backed by Cambridge Labour MP Daniel Zeichner.

The Cambridge Academic Partnership (CAP) is the multi-academy trust (MAT) that runs Coleridge, Parkside and Trumpington Community College, and Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology.

Trumpington Community College, Picture: Cambridge Academic Partnership. (7490165)
Trumpington Community College, Picture: Cambridge Academic Partnership. (7490165)

Parkside parent Andy Gordon’s petition, which has gained more than 250 signatures, says: “We believe there’s not yet enough information to tell the right path forward, and that it’s premature to proceed with UL without serious discussions of local alternatives.”

The fear that the deal had already been done was raised when United Learning’s chief executive Jon Coles sent a letter to parents in January saying he was pleased CAP ‘has decided that its four schools’ futures best lie as part of our group’ and that there would be a transition period over ‘several months’.

Meanwhile, CAP told parents at an information evening that one of the reasons for joining United Learning was “to help us meet the financial challenges of reduced school funding”.

Mr Gordon has been invited to express the parents’ concerns at the next full board meeting of CAP. He said: “In only a week, it’s amazing to receive over 250 signatures. It’s heartening that CAP is listening to our petition. Still, we have no assurance yet of a thorough and transparent consultation, to include talks with other local MATs.”

Mr Zeichner said: “The parents I have met and heard from on this issue are unhappy that there has been no formal consultation. There are questions over future ownership of valuable land. That is why I am supporting the petition asking for full transparency in the process going forward.”

Cambridge Academic Partnership chief executive Andrew Hutchinson Picture: Parkside Community College. (7489934)
Cambridge Academic Partnership chief executive Andrew Hutchinson Picture: Parkside Community College. (7489934)

Andrew Hutchinson, executive principal of Cambridge Academic Partnership, said that parents were already being asked for their views about the proposed move to United Learning and the consultation was ending this week. He added that all responses would be considered, including the petition.



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