A HALESOWEN primary school has announced to parents it is set to join an academy.

Newfield Park Primary on Whittingham Road, will become part of the Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust - which is based in Smethwick - with the school citing financial reasons.

But a parent who didn't want to be named said parents are "outraged" they were not consulted before the decision was made.

They said: "This decision has left many feeling excluded from an important and far-reaching choice that will directly affect their children's education.

"One of the main objections raised by the community is the potential consequences for the quality and consistency of teaching."

They said they were concerned about the academy's spending on supply staff, which is larger than other similar trusts and that they are annoyed at having to buy new uniforms. 

Other schools in the academy include Thorns Collegiate Academy and Lightwoods Primary Academy in Oldbury.

A letter to parents from headteacher Steve Payne said: "Over the last few years, it has become increasingly frustrating to be a Local Authority school as finances, and in-turn, opportunities and support have become limited.

"Governors and I felt that, in order to move the school forward, there would need to be an alternative solution that would provide a brighter future."

Mr Payne said the school spent over a year choosing Shirelands and worked with "five very impressive trusts."

He said: "Our governing body, which include two parent governors, community governors and school senior leaders were unanimous in selecting Shireland Academy Trust because they aligned with our strong family values."

He added: "Given their success in working with primary schools both within their own trust where two have recently been judged ‘good with outstanding features’ and in the wider West Midlands area, we felt they were a good match to support us on our next part of our journey.

"The next stage of this process, that has already started, is talking to staff and parents about the process and giving them an opportunity to ask questions and meet with Sir Mark Grundy (chief executive) and the Shireland team.

"We have close relationships with our families and they trust us; we are confident that our stakeholders will see the benefits of joining Shireland as we have done."

Councillor Paul Bradley, deputy leader of the council, said: “We are aware that schools may be speaking to various academy trusts.

"This is in line with the government’s white paper and the direction of travel towards academy status.

“It is up to the head teacher and governors to consider academy status and which academy trust would be closest aligned to the ethos and values of their school. "There is a statutory consultation process which will need to be followed in line with all requests to become an academy.”

A spokesman for the trust said it will advise a change in uniform in January, but parents don't need to adopt it until September 2024. 

They said only the jumper and tie will be branded and the trust will buy the first of these items for all pupils.

The supplier will continue to be Dancers in Halesowen. They said the PE kit will not be branded.