Stapeley Broad Lane School

Angry parents are demanding answers from Nantwich school governors amid plans to “loan out” its headteacher to another primary.

As part of the deal, Stapeley Broad Lane’s headteacher could work part of the week at “struggling” Bridgemere Primary.

Parents at Broad Lane, which now has academy status, were initially informed about the plan by letter from chair of governors, Tim Marsden.

The letter, seen by Nantwichnews, suggests the idea of a “partnership” is a positive one.

However, parents have voiced concerns over the move after a meeting last night (June 10) where it emerged that Bridgemere, celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, is struggling financially.

“My concerns are that this is about money, not what’s best for Broad Lane,” said one parent.

“I cannot see how half a headmaster can benefit the school and I am really concerned about who will deputise in his absence, as this could then impact on teaching.”

Another Broad Lane mum said: “I feel totally miffed. Parents have been enquiring about spaces at other schools already.

“This situation is extremely damaging to the parent/school relationship because we have almost been kept in the dark.”

And one Broad Lane parent governor Matthew Theobald said he is “seething”.

“We’ve had almost no information about this,” he said.

“We have yet to be given a chance to ask questions and discuss the impacts of Bridgemere School’s preferred option.”

Stapeley Broad Lane chair of governors Tim Marsden declined to comment today, but said a full statement will be issued to parents later this week.

Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of children and families, said: “The council is working extremely hard to sustain schools in our rural communities through our rural strategy.

“At Bridgemere, the school has found itself in financial difficulties and, in line with school financial regulations, has had permission to set a deficit budget and a recovery plan.

“Given this situation, the governors have approached local schools to consider engaging in an interim partnership arrangement to ease the budgetary situation. This is not an unusual occurrence.

“Stapeley Broad Lane Primary has come forward to support the school in this situation and the arrangement will be kept under regular review – and parents’ views will be an important part of this review process.”

Bridgemere Primary headteacher Jane Dickinson and Broad Lane headteacher Ian Shackleton were unavailable for comment.

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