Monday 5 November 2007

Exposing the Academy ‘spin’

The Haberdashers’ Livery Company, who runs two Academies in my Authority of Lewisham, is becoming a favoured player in the corridors of the DCSF, as plans are made to break-up Local Authority schooling and put education further into the hands of unaccountable sponsors.

Haberdashers’ Aske’s have seized their opportunity to expand their educational empire with the Government’s financial backing. They were given control of Malory School in Downham, Lewisham, which became Haberdashers’ Aske’s Knights Academy. The National Audit Office’s report into Academies described it as “the most expensive academy so far” with a staggering final capital cost of £ 40.4 million for which ‘The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers’ had, in turn, to provide one of the smallest sponsors’ contributions to date, at just £295,500.

Haberdashers’ were encouraged to take part in the first ‘competition’ required under the new legislation for a new school being opened in Haringey. Fortunately, their bid was rejected. Undaunted, Aske’s are now one of the parties seeking to become sponsors of an Academy proposed to takeover Pimlico School in Westminster. They are also being backed by Lewisham Council in a bid to acquire nearby Monson Primary School in order to turn their Hatcham College into a 3-18 Academy.

I have written an article analysing the Aske’s academies’ admission arrangements and exam results. It questions how successful these Academies really are and asks whether the successes they have achieved have largely been at the expense of other schools.

I hope it can provide further evidence as to how Government support for Academies is helping to create a divided system where many pupils are unable to attend a good local school – and where staff are also divided across different individual employers.

Please get in touch using the contact details on my linked website if you would like me to send you a copy – or want to get in touch on any issue.

Martin Powell-Davies

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