Redbridge Council defends state-run schools in wake of Government’s academy plan

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 March 2016 | UPDATED: 09:10 24 March 2016

Cllr Elaine Norman, cabinet member for Children and Young People

Cllr Elaine Norman, cabinet member for Children and Young People


Government plans to turn all schools into academies by 2022 have been questioned by Redbridge Council which has called for evidence showing it would improve performance.

Of Redbridge’s eight state-run secondaries, five are rated outstanding and three good by Ofsted.

The borough has seven academies, and the three which have been inspected since changing to the new model are all rated good.

Cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Elaine Norman said: “Any shift away from this model, which is helping so many young people to achieve, needs to be properly thought through and evidenced to ensure that children receive the best education and are able to realise their potential.

“We are eager to see the evidence that shows how academies will drive up standards.”

Ian Folkson, chairman of Gearies Primary School PTA, said he did not agree with forcing good schools to become academies.

He said: “It’s the children who will suffer, because their quality of education will deteriorate. I know how much work our headmaster does and so little of it is involved in what the children are learning.

“That’s what he has to do as headmaster, but if schools become academies there will be even more of that work and even less focus on the children.

“The school is performing very well and I don’t see how forcing it to become an academy will help at all.”

Cllr David Bromiley (Fullwell, Con), who teaches at a school in Newham, said he was not against the plan but warned it could lead to a “divide” as academies can set their own admissions policy.

He said: “I think what we could see is a divide.

“If academies get to tweak their admissions policies, which they will have the power to do, some academies will get the cream of the Key Stage 2 crop, and other academies will struggle to attract smarter pupils and see poorer results because of that.”

Redbridge Conservative leader Cllr Paul Canal (Bridge, Con) criticised the council for its comments on the plans, revealed last week by Chancellor George Osborne.

He said: “It is incredibly foolish to take a stance without having actually read the proposals and I won’t be commenting until I have had a chance to read them properly, but this council likes to manage by press release rather than intellect.”

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