New academies ‘a two-tier’ system for Redbridge

NEW-style school academies will lead to a “two-tier” education system, according to the leader of Redbridge’s Labour group.

Cllr Bob Littlewood fears the coalition government’s academies will make other borough comprehensive schools “inferior”.

Chadwell Heath Academy School, Christie Gardens, Chadwell Heath, became the first in Redbridge to become a new-style academy at the start of this month.

Both Valentines High School, Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, and Loxford School of Science and Technology, Loxford Lane, Ilford, are also looking into becoming academies.

Cllr Littlewood told the Recorder: “In their view [the government’s], they’re rewarding outstanding schools by giving them more freedom.

“What they’re actually doing is making the rest of comprehensive schooling inferior.”

He added: “You end up with a two-tier education system and the local education authority will have very little to do.”

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He also expressed concern that academy schools could set their own intake policy if signed off by the Secretary of State.

The coalition government’s academies are free from local authority control and are in charge of key spending decisions.

Cllr Littlewood said academies devised under the previous Labour government, including the Isaac Newton Academy, which is set to be built on the Cricklefields site, High Road, Ilford, are good because they give schools in deprived areas a “new start”.

John Moynagh, chairman of governors at Chadwell Heath Academy, which is one of the first 32 in the country to sign up to the government’s academy model, said becoming an academy will be a plus.

He said: “We will have the bonus of money being released directly to the school which has, before now, been retained by the local authority. We are very optimistic about the enhanced opportunities which will be available to us as an academy.”