Friday, 25 January 2008

GREEN OPPOSITION TO BRENT ACADEMY SCHOOL [draft by Martin Francis for Brent Green News]

The Green Party is in favour of non-selective public education accountable to local democratic control and so is opposed to the development of City Academies. Although publicly funded, Academies are controlled by private sponsors or charities. We are opposed to the proposed Wembley Academy sponsored by ARK because:

Local democratic control of the proposed school will NOT exist because ARK will nominate its own council, parent and staff representatives and will maintain a 51% ARK majority on its governing body.

The new Academy will NOT follow national teachers’ pay and conditions, leaving the way open for different rates of pay, hours and holidays compared with other local state funded schools.
There is NO democratic mandate for the Academy as the Lib Dems opposed it in their local election manifesto.

There has been NO public Council consultation on whether there should be an additional Brent City Academy as such.

The ARK consultation was really only about the name of the proposed academy and details of its admission procedures NOT whether there should be one, whether it should be all through (catering for 4-19 year olds), or where it should be sited.

Full planning permission has NOT yet been granted and the Environmental and Traffic Impact Studies for the site have NOT yet been completed.

In total only 6 members of the public attended the four public consultation meetings on the development of Wembley Academy, other than LEA, ARK and Anti-Academy representatives so that phase of the consultation is virtually meaningless. ARK’s consultation will now move to private meetings with groups of parents and governors leaving little room for open debate.

A clear YES/NO vote on the development of academies in Brent, as happened with the super casino proposal, would have been the best way to give residents a chance to voice their views. However, the recent consultation on school places gave residents a chance to say to what extent they thought private sponsors, faith groups and charities should be involved in the running of schools. Meanwhile the Green party will continue to oppose privatisation of education and campaign for democratic, accountable, non-selective schools.

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