Firm which ran Hewett consultation also gave PR advice to Inspiration Trust
- Credit: Archant
Campaigners who fought government plans for the Hewett School to become an Inspiration Trust academy have asked MPs to look at emails about the public consultation.
It follows the release of correspondence showing the company that ran the consultation also gave public relations advice to the trust about how to promote its cause – including how to deal with the EDP.
The Hewett's interim governors, appointed by the government, had told parents they appointed HaslamDodd Communications 'to ensure that the consultation process is impartial', but campaigners have now questioned whether the company had a conflict of interests.
Jonathan Haslam, of HaslamDodd, dismissed the concerns, and said 'all views expressed [during the consultation] were documented faithfully'.
Its report concluded 'the great majority was opposed to the Hewett School being converted into an academy and hostile to Inspiration Trust as the preferred sponsor'.
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Nevertheless, the school became the Hewett Academy, sponsored by the Inspiration Trust, last month.
The correspondence, released to anti-academy campaigner Lynsey White and first reported in the Guardian, included an email from Mr Haslam to Inspiration chief executive Dame Rachel de Souza, saying the consultation should be an opportunity to 'share and celebrate success, extend the range of supporters and ambassadors and open up/diversify its profile'.
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Ms White said: 'We are taking it further. It has been passed to the Public Accounts Committee, because we think it deserves attention.'
Mr Haslam said: 'I believe any objective reading of our 95-page report on the consultation can only lead to the conclusion that it is scrupulously impartial.'
He added: 'No one could be in any doubt about the views of the majority of respondents about the academisation proposal or their views of Inspiration Trust. We are proud to have completed a full and rigorous consultation that was designed to encourage the widest possible participation and which will stand the test of time.'
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