PARENTS are set to have their say on plans to convert a large junior school in Huddersfield into an academy.
A public meeting has been organised this Sunday to give families the chance to raise their concerns and discuss further the proposals for Lindley Junior School.
A group of parents organised the meeting, to take place at Lindley Methodist Church, following fears that many were still in the dark about what the radical change will entail for the future of their children’s education.
The plan could see the 480-place school become an academy – and move completely outside Kirklees Council’s control as early as September this year.
But some parents have expressed anger after claims they have not been fully informed on the implication of the changes or had their say through a vote.
Parent Neil Clarkson, whose son is due to start at the school next year, claimed consultation so far has been brief and many parents feel their concerns have not been fully addressed.
He said he and a group of parents felt moved to organise the meeting following an unsatisfactory response to requests for further information.
He said: “We leafleted the area door to door so we’re hoping for a good turnout.
“We have invited speakers including somebody from the NUT and staff. A representative from the school governors has been invited but we have not yet heard back from them.
“People have a mix of opinions. Some are vehemently opposed to the plan, while others feel that some of the reasons the school put out for wanting to become an academy could have been a bit more detailed.
“Parents and prospective parents want more of a balance of information – a lot still feel in the dark about academies and what they represent.
“There was an information meeting in March, but it was very general stuff and felt one-sided about the school not feeling supported well enough by Kirklees.”
Mr Clarkson said that a suggested follow-up meeting and parents ballot had been rejected by governors.
Academy schools are funded directly by central government, rather than their local council, and can obtain money from outside groups including businesses and charities.
They can alter their staff’s terms and conditions and are free to set their own curriculum.
Opponents claim they are unaccountable and could lead to a selective admissions policy.
Mr Clarkson said: “It seems that the whole idea is being steamrollered through without much consultation.
“The school is taking this really big leap into the unknown, but there’s got to be a mandate and I don’t feel they have made their case.
“Academies take away the accountability and democratic element.
“They seem to be turning schools into private corporations, not a public service for the communities they serve.”
The public meeting takes place at 7.30pm on Sunday. For more information about it call 01484 650045.
The school declined to make any comment.