Monday, 23 May 2011

More academies and possibly a free school in Brent?

Following Claremont High School's decision to convert to academy status Kingsbury High School has decided to consult on a similar move. I also understand that a secondary special school, Woodfield Sports College in Kingsbury,  is also considering conversion following Michael Gove's decision to allow special schools to become academies. All these schools are in the north of Brent and would join the Ark Academy (also in the north) and Crest Boys, Crest Girls and City Academy in the list of academies in Brent. At present Brent Council, unlike their counterparts in Harrow, appear (at least publicly) to be making no effort to dissuade them.  There will be further pressure on other secondary schools to follow with subsequent impact on  primary schools. Academies get extra money which is taken from the overall Brent school budget meaning less money for the remaining community schools.

In addition Rivendale Education Limited, recently granted permission to open a free school in Shepherds Bush has expressed an interest in opening a school in Brent citing proximity to Brent, Brent's relative deprivation and the shortage of school places.  Rivendale says it wants to run on the lines of John Lewis but its website is worrying sparse for an organisation that wants to run schools. The link to FAQs reveals none at all and the page on admissions says these are still being fine tuned. The organisation is run from a private address in Shepherds Bush a few doors from where I used to live in the 60s. The more you delve the less substance there appears to be - judge for yourself: LINK

Meanwhile Brent Council is at last seeking views on how to address the shortage of school places in order to put together a 3 year strategy.  Unfortunately they have written to governing bodies asking for a response by Friday June 10th. This gives just 10 days, taking into account next week's half-term holiday and few if any governing body will have a meeting planned in time to formulate a considered response. I hope they will set a new deadline nearer the end of the Summer Term - this is too important an issue to be rushed.


Tracy said...

Rivendale Free School was slated to open in the Milson Road Health Centre, 150m from the good primary on Addison Gardens. Rivendale pulled out after heavy opposition from our local campaign group.

Anonymous said...

Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.
Iftikhar Ahmad

Sarah Cox said...

Earlier research suggested tht girls do better academically when taught in single sex classes while boys do better when taught in mixed classes alongside girls! So it's impossible to organise education to provide the best conditions for both boys and girls. However I believe those findings reflect the reality at the time of the survey and that both boys and girls benefit from learning together in a mixed environment. They grow up knowing each other as friends, as real people and do not so easily become the victims of stereotypes.