Hands Off Castledown campaign’s anger over mistake on Ark website

Hands Off Castledown demonstration outside Castledown Primary School, Hastings. SUS-170125-162324001
Hands Off Castledown demonstration outside Castledown Primary School, Hastings. SUS-170125-162324001

Parents fighting to stop Castledown School becoming an Ark academy have reacted with fury after reading on the company’s website that the school is set to become one in September.

Members of Hands Off Castledown also said an advert for a special educational needs co-ordinator on Ark’s website says the successful applicant will be working across the ‘three Ark academies’.

Ark runs only two primary academies in town, Blacklands and Little Ridge.

It also says on Ark’s website that Castledown is an academy ‘currently in development’.

Since Ark announced its proposals for Castledown in January, objectors launched a Facebook page, as well as a petition.

Clare Booth, Hands Off Castledown, said: “This has caused a lot of distress to many parents and community members of the campaign. It seems so disrespectful and insensitive to all involved in the consultation process, I think we deserve to be told in a more suitable manner.”

A spokesman for Ark said: “The academy proposal consultation regarding Castledown ended on March 1. A report will be submitted to the Regional Schools Commissioner who has the final say on whether Castledown becomes an academy as part of the Ark network. We are very sorry for the misunderstanding regarding the website listing - it was a clerical mistake. Ark had begun a consultation website for Castledown to help disseminate information during the consultation, as the school was having operational trouble with its own website. This consultation website was never used, however, the generation of it resulted in the school automatically showing up on Ark’s ‘Schools in Development’ page. This was an automated action, of which Ark was not aware, and it was corrected as soon as it was brought to our attention.

“In reference to the advert, Ark wanted to ensure any interested applicant understood they might be working across three schools. The ad should have made explicit that the outcome of the consultation at Castledown was still pending and Ark regrets any confusion this caused.”

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