Wednesday 22 May 2013

Two more secondary free schools in Brent approved by Gove

Michael Gove today approved two secondary free schools to open in Brent in September 2014.  This is in addition to Michaela Academy which was approved in the last wave.

The Gateway Academy will be in the Wembley Central area, possibly in Madison House in London Road, off Wembley High Road. This is a close to Copland High School which is going through a difficult period at the moment and thought likely to be subjected to a forced academy. My previous posting on Gateway can be found HERE

The rather meagre details about the new school can be found HERE

Gladstone School does not yet appear to have found premises in the Gladstone Park/Cricklewood area. Crest Boys and Crest Girls Academies presently serve that community. The sponsors answered my questions about the proposed free school HERE

Details can be found on the school's website HERE 

Both sets of proposers are thought to have been in talks with Brent Council officers. The issue of free schools has been controversial within Brent Labour Party and concern about it is said to have been a factor in Cllr Michael Pavey replacing Mary Arnold as lead member for children and families in the recent Executive elections.

 Meanwhile the Mayor of London has admitted that he supports the funding of free schools even in areas where there is “not necessarily a shortage of places”. London Councils are lobbying the Government for funding to cope with the estimated 118,000 extra school places in London by 2014/15.

Darren Johnson, Green Assembly Member for London said:
We will have new schools funded in areas of London which don’t need them and no new schools built in areas of high demand. The policy is irrational and based upon the principle of the parents who shout loudest getting their own way. With a dire shortage of funds for new schools, the Mayor is effectively saying that a new free school has priority over a child in another part of London who has no school.
The Mayor can’t say that he is simply following Government policy on this, as his deputy Mayor for culture also admitted that properties belonging to the fire or police authorities may be sold to free schools at ‘red book’ prices, rather than through competitive tendering. The looming shortfall of 118,000 school places in the capital would be far better addressed through the Mayor's co-operation with local authorities in a properly planned programme of school building rather than the hit and miss approach of Free Schools.


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