Friday 8 January 2016

Brent Labour urges school governing bodies not to convert to academy status

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council and Cllr Ruth Moher, lead member for Children and Families have written to Brent primary school governing bodies, on behalf of the Labour Group,  putting the case against academisation. This is at a time when Sudbury Primary School Academy is experiencing difficulties and the  Oakington Manor Primary/Furness Primary Federation governing body is moving to convert to an academy.  At the same time in policy adopted last year the Council is looking to academies and free schools to provide additional secondary school places.

Dear Governors,

We are writing to you on behalf of Brent Labour's leadership, following the announcement on the future of schooling by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Without any regard to the wishes of local parents and communities,m the government has announced that it intends to see an end to schools operating within local authorities and become academies.

We urge you to ensure your school remains part of the local council.

While it is critical that schools teach the academic basics to our children, we know that they do so much more.

They are places where young people learn the meaning of being a friend, a team-mate and a citizen; where they find out more about their fellow pupils and themselves than they ever realised there was to know; where they discover the interests and develop the skills that will make them happy, well-rounded an, fulfilled human beings. In short, they prepare our young people for life in the broadest sense,

Such a broad preparation for life requires not a business, but a community. A community of teachers, parents and pupils can go beyond their contractual commitments, to provide the activities that help broaden our children's horizons: After school activities, appropriate extra support for some pupils and teaching beyond the test.

But a community cannot be run for profit. Hours of volunteering can not be given, if they will be exploited for the bottom lines. Currently academies in the borough are not for profit, and collaborate well within the Brent Schools Partnership. They work hard to give their pupils the roundest possible education.

But once out of local authority control there is no guarantee that a school will not eventually become for profit. Michael Gove, the former Education Secretary who promoted much of the academy agenda, has gone on record as saying that he is 'open' to businesses running schools. This Conservative majority government is at liberty to make that happen. A current academy headteacher can be against a school being run for profit, but there is no guarantee what the stance of their successor will be.

The only way to ensure that our schools remain communities, and do not becomes businesses, is for them to remain under the control of Brent Council. On behalf of Brent Labour's leadership, I urge you to do all you can to ensure that they do.

Cllr Muhammed Butt
Cllr Ruth Moher

Note: I have not edited this letter (MF)


Anonymous said...

That letter will make school governing bodies want to opt out of Local Authority control

Martin Francis said...

The terminology is out-dated. Community primary schools are largely self-governed through their governing bodies and local financial management. There is local authority oversight, with agreed admission criteria etc, robust auditing etc which I think is a good thing. I think the lack of democratic accountability of academies and free schools is a major issue and one that parents are increasingly finding a problem.

Alison Hopkins said...

What a stinking piece of hypocrisy. Copland, anyone?

Anonymous said...

The disjointed letter reads as Cllr Butt speaks.

Anonymous said...

Beyond belief! Where was Butt when Pavey was abandoning the staff at Copland who were arguing exactly the points which Butt now claims to believe in? Why is he now claiming to believe these things when he didn't believe them 3 years ago when it mattered? The Labour party leadership has changed and so Labour changed its stance and so overnight Butt's views are reversed. What a man of weight and principle! No, it's no time for irony. What an unprincipled little time-serving shit!
And Pavey, given his betrayal of Copland parents, pupils and staff,must surely now say he completely diasagrees with Butt's new line and holds to his earlier views, or else resign in shame.
What chiselling little cowards they are!

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

Is'nt Councillor Butt on the Board of Trustees for Ark Elvin Academy, former Copland School?
Double Standards?
Where's the Truth?

Anonymous said...

Indeed he is. He was chosen/he pushed himself forward as a representative of integrity, propriety and principle I believe. And if you look at the kind of people who set up and run Ark you'll find he's in very good company.