Meeting planned between Kenmal Academies Trust and council to improve working relationship

Thomas Bennett Community College
Thomas Bennett Community College

West Sussex County Council will be meeting with The Kemnal Academies Trust in an attempt to improve their working relationship, councillors have been told.

Things were seen as less than rosy between the council and the trust (TKAT) over the summer due to concerns about Thomas Bennett Community College, in Crawley.

With 12 teachers and the head of school resigning and strike action threatened, some members of the public asked why the council did not step in, with some even calling for the college to be placed back in the hands of the local authority.

With the law not allowing the council to do either, Richard Burrett, cabinet member for education and skills,

Weeks later an agreement was reached between the trust and staff.

appealed to the government to give local authorities more power to intervene when academies got into difficulties.

At a meeting of the children and young people’s services select committee, in Chichester, Mr Burrett told members that TKAT had asked for a meeting, which should take place within the next few weeks.

Mr Burrett said the council’s relationship with TKAT had ‘not been as strong as with a number of the other trusts’, adding: “We’ll be having a discussion about our working relationship with the trust and trying to improve that, because it’s something that perhaps hasn’t been as strong over the last couple of years.”

As well as Thomas Bennett, TKAT runs six primary schools in Crawley.

Mark Jenner, the county’s head of school effectiveness, said the schools, which include Broadfield Primary and The Oaks Primary, worked very well, with the council also working well with their headteachers.

TKAT has been approached for comment.

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