One of the interesting aspects of the Academy debate has been the position of the Brent Conservatives. At the public meeting on the Academy held at the Torch pub in Wembley I shared a platform with Bob Blackman, leader of Brent Tories and Hank Roberts of the NUT. As well as saying that he was opposed to an Academy on the site of Wembley Playing Fields, Cllr Blackman went further and said that in his personal opinion there was no place for private sponsors in publicly funded schools and that he favoured local democratic accountability through the local authority.
Speaking at Tuesday's meeting in the week that the Tories had suggested turning primary schools into academies, Cllr Blackman kept his comments to site issues. He argued that the temporary primary academy was already having a detrimental impact on the rolls of Preston Park and Wembley Primary schools and that Wembley Primary was considering going down to three forms of entry from four. An amazing decision considering that Wembley has just been rebuilt at the cost of millions of pounds to house a four form entry school.
He suggested that two new primary schools could have been provided in the Wembley Masterplan area to serve new housing as well as a secondary school in the south of the regeneration area. He said that the bus routes from the Stonebridge/Harlesden area to Wembley are already congested and that pupils would have to take at least 2 buses to get to Wembley Park. The route from Harlesden/Stonebridge was on the Bakerloo line but Wembley Park was on the Jubilee.