Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Academies letter from Siobhain McDonagh MP

I have posted a recent letter from Siobhain McDonagh MP about Academies and Rob MacDonald the person who has brought the judicial review.


Dear Sir,

I could not believe the mistakes in your article backing a court case brought by Rob MacDonald to stop 2 Mitcham schools becoming Academies.

You claimed the case is being brought by 'ordinary working class families', that the schools are not failing, and that consultation opposed academies.

Well, Mr MacDonald is a well-known Socialist Party activist - there is nothing ordinary about him at all. He doesn't even live in Merton, let alone speak for local parents. He is just a political ideologue.

And the schools really are failing. Figures for the value schools add to a child's education put one in London's worst 1% of schools, the other in the bottom 4%.

Local parents won't send their children there. Each had 240 places to fill this year, but only 50 applied to one, 82 to the other, and parents are always coming to my surgery desperate to get their children into other schools.

And as for consultation, one small, wildly unreliable survey did generate a few dozen opponents, but it allowed anonymous multiple responses and went out in areas miles from the schools. I carried out a much more reliable consultation that only went out in the the schools' catchment areas. Well over 500 replied, 80% in favour.

Mitcham's parents want higher standards and better discipline, and the choice to send their children to Academies. Incidentally, you may have wondered why Merton did not go Tory at the recent local elections, their only failed target in London. Well, Labour was pro-Academies. The Tories put out leaflets against them. They must be kicking themselves to get it so wrong. So should you.

Yours sincerely,
Siobhain McDonagh MP
Member of Parliament for Mitcham and Morden


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can Councillor Whelton or MP McDonagh account for the failure of the two schools? All those years of a Labour Council and still they failed. Much money spent on the buildings - but still they failed. Do they not realise that refurbished buildings and a plethora of IT equipment does not make a successful school. Where there is no spirit and no soul, there will always be failure. Please explain your failure!

9:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mitcham's parents want higher standards and better discipline, and the choice to send their children to Academies". They certainly want higher standards and better discipline but why cannot that be provided by the existing school set up? Will the current staff be retained when the schools reopen as academies or are a new set of teachers on standby? If the former, how will the standards of teaching and disciplne be improved? Will children excluded from their own borough still be allowed to bring down the standards in the new academies?

9:13 pm  
Blogger Martin Whelton said...

Clearly in recent years the results of both schools have not been up to scratch, it was a situation that had become worse in the past few years and required action.

The then Labour council could have stuck it's head in the sand and done nothing and let things drift. This would have been letting down the people if Mitcham and Pollards Hill. The schools were refurbished but we regonised new buildings on it'own was not enough and that the school needed a new ethos. The status quo would have let to the demise of one or both schools sooner or later.

In relation to the second comment, the exisiting set up is not producing results. In Tamworth most of the teachers are staying on along with many new ones coming in. In relation to Harris, a track record exists in turning schools around, the Sylvan High School in Croydon was a failing school until taken over by Harris and is now one of the most succesful schools in Croydon.

10:32 pm  

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