As the struggle of Gladstone Park Primary parents against a forced academy hots up and attention also turns to Kensal Rise Primary, this film shows how a community rose up in defence of its schools. The bullying of the DfE is challenged by parents and school staff. With more attempts at forced academies provoking revolt across London the Guardian, Independent and the Evening Standard (see below) have woken up to what is happening. LINK to coverage in yesterday's Evening Standard.
As with the closure of Central Middlesex Hospital, Brent Labour councillors have been slow to react. As representatives of local residents who have shown such passionate support for their local school and commitment to the role of the local authority, surely they must state loudly and clearly that they oppose forced academisation and are confident (as Ofsted said - see below) in the capacity of the present leadership and management to improve the school and deal with the weaknesses revealed by the recent inspection.
Well done on continuing to raise the profile of this affront to our primary education system on your blog, Martin.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the recent Ofsted report on Gladstone Park (and I wouldnt's seek to denigrate its findings here), one has to question, nay challenge, its use by the DfE as a pretext for forcible academy conversion.
Surely, a single report cannot be used as the sole basis for such a far-reaching (and disruptive) ideological change to the school management and accountability structure (with no guarantee of improvement to follow). What gives the lie to any pretence of accountability is the current refusal of DfE to meet with the school governors, whilst retaining an open-mind on the future management.
Moreover, I think it is worth singling out a passage from the Ofsted report itself:
"Pupils are happy at school. They feel safe and look after each other. There are lots of opportunities for them to celebrate each other’s cultural traditions." (p. 1 summary)
That's hardly the sign of a school that needs to be overhauled with ideological urgency - as if there was some health and safety risk at issue. Sure, improvements may need to be made, and so well they should. But the current management must be given this opporunity, if only out of natural justice.
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