Academy consultation launched at Sydney Russell School

Sydney Russell School in Dagenham

Sydney Russell School in Dagenham - Credit: Archant

Sydney Russell could be the latest Dagenham school to become an academy after a formal consultation was launched on Monday.

A letter handed out to staff, signed by headteacher Roger Leighton, reveals proposals to convert the school under Partnership Learning – a local charitable trust already running Riverside School in Barking, and soon to be running Riverside Bridge special school.

Although Sydney Russell insists a final decision will not be made until the conclusion of the consultation – midday on Friday, January 16, 2015 – a target conversion date has already been set for February 1 2015.

If plans go ahead the Parsloes Avenue comprehensive will follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Barley Junior School and the Warren in making the transition.

However the Post understands the majority of the school’s NUT members have already voted against the proposals in an informal ballot, and the union’s borough divisional secretary Dominic Byrne has vowed to fight the plans.

“I can’t see any educational benefits in one of the borough’s only ‘Outstanding’ school becoming an academy,” he said.

“No balloting of parents has been announced so far, but this needs to happen with a decision of this size.”

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In his letter Mr Leighton says governors took the decision because of the opportunities academy status within the trust will give “to play a leading role in a growing group of local schools”.

He also described “the opportunity to enable Partnership Learning to be approved by the government as a local academy sponsor to help other schools in difficulty” was another key factor.

A two-hour information drop-in session will be held for all staff members on Tuesday, December 16, from 6pm.

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Are you a parent, pupil or staff-member of Sydney Russell School? What do you think about the proposals?

Email your views to or call 020 8477 3824.