A group of parents and local residents have started a petition against their schools becoming part of a regional multi-academy trust.
They are calling on people to sign the petition against Carlton le Willows School in Gedling and Netherfield Primary School joining the multi-academy East Midlands Education Trust (EMET).
The schools are currently managed by the Greater Nottingham Education Trust (GNET).
EMET manages 20 schools in the region including The West Bridgford School and South Wolds Academy in Keyworth.
The petition owners claim the schools will be charged each school will be required to pay £450,000 per year for membership.
It says that financial restrictions could be placed on the schools and this would ‘impact school trips, after-school clubs, resources, teaching & learning and so much more’.
It was also critical of the consultation period, which they claim is only eight days.
Petition organisers said: “Carlton Le Willows is a top performing school in the county and Netherfield is a continually improving school.
“There is no research or evidence to suggest that Larger Multi-Academy Trusts improve standards or benefit the children holistically.
“Bigger is not always better. Community, family and shared values are. We are a small family of two schools in a small community. Our children don’t dream of Larger Multi-Academy Trusts. They dream of the bright futures which our schools already promote.”
The petition has now been signed by over 800 people and can be seen here: https://www.change.org/p/netherfield-says-no-to-emet-east-midlands-education-trust
EMET’s CEO Rob McDonough said a proper consultation would take place at a future time if there was an appetite for the schools to move across to the Trust.
He told Gedling Eye: “The possibility of GNET joining EMET is to be discussed at the East Midlands and Humber Advisory Board on April 27th. The purpose of this for us is to merely ascertain if GNET can join EMET. If this is approved, then a formal consultation can take place to discuss if GNET wants to join EMET. Therefore the question of there being only eight days consultation is not accurate.
“A full formal consultation would take place later and we would examine the question ‘does GNET want to join EMET?’ It would be at this time that the benefits or otherwise can be fully considered.
Mr McDonough said the Trust’s charges to schools would be at the ‘lower end of the charge range’.
“Other trusts typically charge 5% or 6%,” he said.
“I believe Carlton le Willows already charges Netherfield primary 4% of its general annual grant (GAG) as a central charge, so GNET will already be familiar with the concept.
“Our charge pays for the running of the trust including a wide ranging support package for our schools for the ‘back office’ functions which include HR, finance, legal, safeguarding, IT, and catering. Some of these back office services have been completely centralised so schools no longer have to fund these activities themselves.
“It is not true to say each school will be charged £450,000 because one school is a large secondary and the other a small primary. The central charge is 4% of their GAG.
“It is also not true to see this as an additional charge to their existing costs because we take costs off the school. A larger group of schools working together is simply more cost effective with its back office provision and can provide a wider range of services when compared to a small trust. “