Wembley residents were aghast when they were confronted by this gigantic 'in your face' advertising hoarding opposite Wembley Park station this week. The hoarding was fixed to the crumbling and possibly asbestos ridden Arena House, site of the proposed Michaela Community School.
Michaela is the free school brain child of Michael Gove acolyte, Katharine Birbalsingh. The school failed to gain support at its recent consultation meetings and is now getting desperate for custom. Apart from the advertisiing hoarding they have managed to get on the front page of the Wembley and Willesden Observer this week with a plea for parents to get involved.
Despite being funded by tax-payers' money, to the detriment of other local schools badly needing cash for rebuilding, the school promises 'private school values' whatever that means. Krutika Pau, current Director of Children and Families, while admitting that the school was 'experimental' and had no track record, nevertheless thought it accorded with Brent schools' ethos.
The advertisement boasts of 'private school values', 'traditional education', 'strong discipline' and 'healthy competition' as well as a long school day. The subtext merits further discussion!
The school is now seeking Year 7 applications for September 2014. Parents should be aware that they will be choosing a pig in a poke compared with other Brent secondary schools which have (with the exception of Ark whose pupils have not yet reached examination age ) examination results and Ofsted reports to back up their claims. Michaela has no evidence to back up their assertions - parents have to judge whether their 'bigging up' of their plans amounts to anything substantial or is a risk too far in terms of their children's future.
Michaela's claim of being an 'Exceptional' school (word obscured by trees on the strap line of the advertisement) is based on nothing more than assertion. What does the Advertising Standards Authority say?