Monday 18 March 2013

Gove's disciple starts consulting on her 'elite traditional' free school

Arena House where 'elite' education will take place
 The Michaela Community Secondary Free School has embarked on a 'consultation' regarding its intention to open at Arena House, opposite Wembley Park Station. 

The person behind the application is Katharine Birbalsingh who was lauded at the Tory Party conference after attacking comprehensive education. Controversially she showed slides of her pupils as part of her attack.

She has used this appearance as a platform to put forward some decidedly odd ideas on the curriculum and is hoping that Michael Gove will follow up his enthusiasm for her right-wing ideas with plenty of tax payers' money for her new school - money that could have been used to support other schools in the borough.

Michaela promise an 'elite traditional' education and there will be a longer extended day with activities including 'competitive' sport, Mandarin, business and financial skills.There will be an emphasis on discipline. I hope Michaela and Ark Academy do not get into a who can be toughest war.

Free schools receive disproportionate funding and it is clear that Arena House will need a lot of costly work before it is fit for purpose. There will be 840 pupils and anyone who knows the building will realise that there is very little space that could be used as a playground. Its position right up against a noisy railway line and adjacent to a busy road is not exactly ideal either.

Emails advertising the consultation have been sent to local schools and consultation meetings will be held at Chalkhill Community Centre, Barnhill Road on Tuesday 26th March (3-5pm) and Thursday 4th April (6-8pm).

If the school does open its 840 pupils will join those of Ark Academy, which is not yet operating at capacity,  the1,000 students who will attend the Brent Town Hall  independent French secondary school,  pupils from the Preston Manor All-through school and children from Chalkhill Primary School in one small area of Wembley.

The consultation brochure can be found HERE

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