Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Academies get the go ahead

The proposal for Mitcham Vale and Tamworth Manor to become Academy schools from September has been give the go ahead by the school adjudicator. This decision will mean that Mitcham Vale will become an academy sponsored by the Church of England and Tamworth Manor an academy sponsored by the Harris foundation.

This has been a long running issue in Pollards Hill and the whole process has occupied a great deal of my time as a councillor over the past year. I have been a governor of Tamworth Manor for the past four years, along with being a local ward councillor, school standards was a major issue in the area as Tamworth along with Mitcham Vale had low levels of attainment and falling rolls. If the status quo had continued, it would have been very likely that one of the schools would have closed as not enough pupils were going to either school. Both schools are in the same area and despite capacity for 240 at each school, they are barely half-full, many people in my local area send their kids to schools many miles away. In relation to Tamworth, the Harris Foundation has a proven track of record of success and in both Croydon and Southwark succeeded in turning around failing schools. I am confident that the fresh start will give the area a school to be proud of along with extra investment to improve facilities further.

It is a relief that the issue has now been resolved, though a judicial review is still pending about the consultation and process of turning the schools into academies. A great deal of planning had gone into the process and this will come to fruition in September.

I would have attached the link with the report but unfortunately the link is down, if you want a copy of the report, please e-mail me at martinwhelton@aol.com


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great news! How long do you reckon the parents in Pollards Hill will have to wait to see the results of this radical and progressive change? Now that the schools have become acadamies, I imagine that they will be queuing up to enroll their children in these schools. I doubt that they will be put off by the continued presence in the schools of children from outside the borough who have been barred from their own borough's schools. Congratulations on a thoughtful, well-argued campaign to get Acadamies into Mitcham! Keep up the good work. If they are half as successful as you promise, I imagine that Wimbledon parents will be clamoring for schools in that half of Merton to follow suit.

5:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might be interested to note that there is a judicial review today which could stop one of the schools becoming an academy (challenge to the legality of the consultation process).
I would be interested to hear a Labour councillor defend a policy that allows private individuals to purchase a share (at a bargain price) in a school, giving them control over employment policy, governors and some say in the curriculum? It seems to me, the people who would be most interested in running an academy are those (a) out to make a quick buck or (b) those with an ideology to push. Neither of whom strike me as the kind of people you want running schools.

12:06 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the whole point of academy schools is that they allow failing councils to pass the buck. It happens in the business world as well where incompetant management employ expensive consultants to advise on future strategy: when successfull management claim the credit; where unsuccessful the consultants get the blame. The beauty of academy status as far as Labour Councillors are concerned is that it gives them a few more years before the success or failure of the experiment can be judged. It buys them time - past failure will be dismissed as irrelevant. "Judge us on future results" I can forsee the election literature already. They hope the experiment will work because they are in despair over the current state of the two schools - something for which they are reluctant to take any responsibility. Caring responsible parents will do what is best for their children - which may not be to take the leap of faith which Councillor Whelton hopes for. There are numerous examples within New Labour of party members putting the education of their own children before slavish adherence to the party line - Ms Abbott and Mr and Mrs Blair spring to mind

1:11 pm  

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