Details of the changes being proposed at Cauldwell, Shackleton, and Shortstown primary schools

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Plans to make radical changes to four of Bedford’s primary schools have been branded a “betrayal” by parents – but what exactly is being proposed?

In this news feature we give the full story on the plans to impose changes across the HEART Academies Trust.

> How long has this been in the pipeline?

One key argument from governors is there was no suggestion of this when the trust was formed last year.

As one governor put it: “At the time of joining the schools were assured of equality of leadership across the founding schools, with the continuing leadership of their headteacher being overseen/managed by one chief executive officer...

“At no point was this structure questioned or assurance of the headteacher as leader of the school re-visited.”

> How long has the consultation been running?

The proposal was unveiled in mid-September, but the consultation has since been extended three times at the request of staff and unions.

> Are the three primary schools underachieving?

It is a mixed and nuanced picture, and Shortstown Lower School may show that best.

The most recent SAT results put the school as being ‘Well below average’ for both maths and reading, and ‘Average’ for writing.

However, the school is also the most improved in Bedford Borough for Key Stage 2, with an increase of 22 per cent.

And the results should also be seen against a background of 38 per cent of last year’s Year 6 students being diagnosed and/or recognised as having special educational needs (SEN).

Read more:

The full story

What is being proposed?

What are the reasons for the proposals?

Details of the changes

What comes next?

Is money behind the proposals?