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Lisa Nandy was very inspiring indeed!
This certainly seems more inclusive than a lot of free schools -- now that the boundaries have been re-drawn. In general, Ark seem committed to inclusivity. I hope that all free schools follow their example.
Exactly Francis which is precisely why I am perplexed that the Bolingbroke Academy is being given such a hard time. Why has Lisa Nandy chosen to target this school (and therefore you Francis in your video - the "toffs aid" bit in particular!) when the Bolingbroke is probably the closest to a comprehensive school to most schools in existence now (I can only speak for Wandsworth)? Is it because it's in a middle class area and therefore easy to use the class card? I think that's pretty cheap and a real kick in the teeth for the parents who have spent a long time setting this school up to ensure its inclusivity.
Thanks for this Kate. I will change the map on the video...
Yours Janet is the 'soft bigotry of low expectation' and everything I loath about this site. There is very little reason why pupils of low attainment cannot progress and achieve in such an academic school with the right blend of pedagogy, pastoral care, head and SLT. The idea that 'all schools must be all things to all pupils' is naive in a world of scare resource. If you want a school that has an academic ethos then great. If you want a school that does well in the arts then choose one that offers that. Or if you want a school that has a more vocational flavour then choose that type of school. I live in London and all those school types are available in our borough. By pandering to the lowest common denominator of low attaining pupils you are coverty harming the learning opportunity of more gifted and talented pupils - that in itself is a form of covert selection. Setting and streaming also exist to help with these issues and move pupils up the curve. The left wing cant wheeled out as educational gospel on this site is soul destroying.
Thanks, Saskia. As I'm not local it's very difficult to keep tabs on what's going on. In any case, I thought that under Mr Gove's academization programme, only those schools judged by Ofsted to be outstanding could convert and I got the impression (which may be wrong) that Chestnut Grove was an improving school.
Based on the last paragraph of your reply below Janet, you appear to think that you know better than the combined wisdom of the droves of headteachers, SLTs and governing bodies that are converting to academy status en masse. They are wrong and you are right - what is it that they are all missing?
Where or in what context has the DfE said the 'money' is not sustainable? Notwithstanding the odd legal challenge from LAs for alleged double slicing, the monies are in essence moving between pots. The DfE report you refer to is more about removing the complexity of how academies are funded rolling forward from AY2012-13. Its nothing to do with the quantum. Far from what you imply the DfE say Janet, its not the money but the way they go about caluclating the grants that is 'unsustainable'. Everyone knows there is less money about but that cuts across maintained schools, academies and free schools together. To say the DfE has said the transition cant be funded is wrong - its the process the DfE is saying that needs improving.
I'm sure we can all find excuses for why we don't practce what we preach.
As you appear to be such a big fan of Toby Young Saskia he has blogged a piece on Free Schools today - you can read it here: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100092216/left-unleashes-furious-assault-on-free-schools-in-attempt-to-force-another-u-turn/
Of course it won't. Gove will chuck more money and resources at it. If it fails he and his policies will fail. Your genuine concern, Janet, that no school should fail is admirable and one that I wish were shared by the government. One way they could ensure that all schools have an equal chance of success is if they revise their current policy, invest more in existing maintained schools and plough more resources and aid into schools that need help to improve. Schools are not going to improve if they live in constant fear of Gove's axe falling on them.
To state that Gove will 'chuck more money and resources at it' is to fundamentally misunderstand how schools are grant funded and the contract they operate under and so why Gove can't do that even if he wanted to. It's an example of the gossip and rumour so often put about on this site that gets taken for gospel.
GLA Population Projections for 2011 confirm that the BME % for total Wandsowrth population aged 10-19 is 36.7%. Council FSM projection as above is 26% versus 27% for the borough average. These facts show up the spin and lies that have been told about this academy over the last year by people opposed solely on the basis of ideology and misplaced dogma. The GMB and their sponsored Labour MPs are tilting at windmills.
You're right Jake. It would also be helpful if Academies, Free Schools and indeed the government didn't play fast and loose with facts either. It would help if schools performed proper and transparent consultations before converting (especially if financial incentives were the motivation); if Free School proposers came clean about the real objectives as opposed to their grandiose ones; if they would publish their Funding Agreements and their Business Plans; if they did not position their theoretical schools in direct competition with maintained schools; if the Government did not spin the hyperbole that Academies and Free Schools are the miracle to save state education (they aren't and it's been proved in America); if the Government did not go so far as to remove mention of maintained schools (still the majority) from their DfE website and instead promote Academies and FS as they only options. It is easy to hand out "facts" that pander to people's fears and concerns. Much more difficult to hand out facts that give the whole picture.
I think you'll find Janet that Saskia posted her comment today some while after all this information has been available, that was the point I was making. The academy has been critcised for a while now by a very small number of people, always without any reference to the facts to hand at any given point in time. Even an understanding of the 'basic needs' issues in the area would be helpful for some people to acknowledge. And the GLA number relates to the age group that will be attending the Bolingroke - 10 to19 year olds.
The free school policy was one of the flagship Tory policies pre-election and the government has been democratically elected and so mandated to deliver on that policy - there is nothing undemocratic about the free schools policy, far from it. As for Sir Philip's post, he bemoans the shrinking of local authority control and the impact on schools resulting from that. Interesting that in all his reference to statute he did not mention the latest Academies Act 2010 and the impact or otherwise on previous statute. I don't think anyone is pretending the free schools or academies are independent - they are clearly state/government schools resulting from the New Labour policy a decade ago under Lord Adonis. There is nothing new in what Gove is doing with outflanking the LEA and it is disingenuous to suggest there is. Whether one agrees with the the whole 'shrinking state' mantra is irrelevant for the next 4 years - local authorities will in the main morph into no more than commisioning agencies. I am not sure why local democracy trumps national democracy but there you go.
There is NO mandate for these policies as the Tories didn't win the election - as I have pointed out here before they haven't been able to win an election outright since 1992 . The Liberal Democrats who have given the Coalition the majority it needs, stood on an entirely different manifesto which promised school autonomy but within a locally accountable framework. Moreover the Academies Act was NOT in the Coalition Agreement. That may be one reason why so many LD voters are now deeply disillusioned and the party struggles to get into double figures in most opinion polls.
Could you post some details on the £5 million, that would be good to read? And what clauses in the model funding agreement allow Gove to chuck money as he chooses?
Google the Guardian and look it up
Yes, ok, just done that - no luck. But good to see the Guardian is your source of objective material, no axe to grind on their part is there? It must be true. Can you send me the link to the Guardian article and also to the MFA clauses that allow Gove to 'chuck money' as he chooses?
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