Monday 8 January 2018

Brent Labour Group fail to make clear stand against academisation of The Village School

Forty or so people turned up this evening at Brent Civic Centre to lobby the Labour Group regarding the governing body of The Village School  move to convert to academy status.

The school's Chair of Governors is Sandra Kabir a senior Labour councillor and chief whip of the group.

Phil Pardoe, NEU Regional Official, said the pre-lobby meeting with Cllr Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council and Cllr Mili Patel, lead member for children and families had been positive. They had said they could tell parents at consultation meetings that the Council would prefer the school not to academise. Pardoe said that the impact of this was unclear but that pressure needed to be exerted on chair of Governors Cllr Sandra Kabir, a key proponent of the academy bid.

Cllr Jumbo Chan reiterated his opposition to what he called Tory policy on academies and free schools and said that he would try and persuade the Labour Group to express their outright opposition to academisation in line with Labour Party policy.

At the Group meeting  that followed Cllr Kabir adopted a contorted position of supporting and promoting academisation while at the same time claiming she did not want that outcome.  Cllr Butt claimed his first preference was to keep local control of the school and academisation was a last resort but he stopped short of saying the Council would oppose The Village School academisation.

Cllrs Mashari, Miller and Long asked sceptical questions about academisation and Cllr Jumbo Chan and observer Michael Calderbank  opposed.

Cllrs Mili Patel, Shama Tatler andAslam Choudry adopted the position of not liking academisation but said the Council had no choice.

The upshot, rather than a firm decision to state Labour Group opposition, was that the matter would be referred to Scrutiny Committee and that Butt would write to The Village School governors asking them to explore the viability of staying in the 'Brent family of schools'.

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