Friday, 30 July 2010

By Gove! I think he's exaggerating

Education Secretary Michael Gove has rushed through the legislation for academies, insisting it had to be done quickly owing to the vast amount of demand there was from schools. In fact, nationally, only 153 schools have actually applied. Unfortunately, 19 of those "registering an interest" (a step short of applying, although some of those have gone on to do that as well) are in Barnet.

Here's the list of "not outstanding" schools "registering an interest" (from the Department for Education website):
  • Bishop Douglass School Finchley (Secondary)
  • Finchley Catholic High School (Secondary)
  • Hasmonean High School (Secondary)
  • JCoSS - Jewish Community Secondary School (proposed to open 01/09/10)
  • Mill Hill County High School (Secondary)
  • Monken Hadley CofE Primary School
  • Osidge Primary School
Here's the list of "outstanding" schools "registering an interest" (from the Department for Education website):
  • Ashmole School (Secondary)
  • Barnfield Primary School
  • Hasmonean Primary School
  • Independent Jewish Day School (Primary)
  • Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School (Secondary)
  • Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet (Secondary)
  • St Mary's CofE Primary School, East Barnet
  • St Michael's Catholic Grammar School
  • The Compton School (Secondary)
  • The Henrietta Barnett School (Secondary)
  • The Ravenscroft School A Technology College (Secondary)
  • Whitefield School (Secondary)
Another, shorter, list called "Applications to Convert as of 23 July 2010" showing those who have made full applications is available here. It includes only "outstanding schools". These are the Barnet schools on that list:
  • Ashmole School
  • East Barnet School
  • Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet
  • St Michael's Catholic Grammar School
  • The Compton School
  • The Ravenscroft School A Technology College
Although when the plans were first set out, the Tories suggested that any outstanding school that wanted to become an academy would be allowed to, Ravenscroft has already been turned down. Speculation is rife as to why: the feeling among some is that Ravenscroft just doesn't fit the bill of what an academy should look like, there are just too many working class kids there, for a start. That's one reason why it's relatively undersubscribed: the middle class parents of that area don't want their children mixing with hoi pollloi. (I don't know if this is fair but I've heard it from different sources.)

Barnet MP Theresa Villliers is upset, anyway, that Ravenscroft has been rejected and has secured a kind of appeal for the school. Villiers has written a letter to Gove (reported in the Barnet Press, Times series and Evening Standard) saying:
“As you will recognise, the decision to reject the application is a huge disappointment to the whole school community - to staff, parents and students – and to all of us in Barnet who strongly support the school and value the work that it does.

“You will see that the students come from diverse backgrounds, with a significant proportion having special educational needs and others coming from the refugee community.

"I know you do not wish academy status to be confined to those schools which head the results league tables.

"In my opinion, Ravenscroft's progress been hugely impressive in recent years. Ofsted's rating of the school as outstanding reflects the hard work by governors, staff and students. The school has given vastly improved life chances to hundreds of students who might otherwise have struggled or become disengaged from education."
The comment about it being a good school might well be right, but the comment about rejection being a disappointment can't be, because, from what I understand, staff, parents and students have barely been consulted at all about the application. It has come solely from a decision by the governors.

* Barnet Anti Academies Alliance* http://barnetantiacademiesalliance.wordpress.com/

4 comments:

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