Only one of Twigg’s three A* academies was set up under Labour, and one isn’t even an academy.

Janet Downs's picture
Only one of three A* "academies" listed as Twigg’s A* Academies in the Evening Standard was set up under Labour. Paddington Academy replaced the North Westminster Community School in 2006 and was sponsored by the United Learning Trust (ULT). The Standard said 100% of Paddington Academy pupils achieved 5 A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent) in 2012. But the actual figure was 98%. That's still high - but 98% is not 100%. The article said results before the school became an academy were only 18% but this can’t be verified: the 2006 results are missing from School Performance Tables. In 2005, 27% of pupils gained 5 GCSES A*-C – that’s lower than the City of Westminster average of 46% which was in turn lower than the 2005 national average of 56%. But 27% is not 18%. The BBC, in an article chronicling the Academy’s early problems which caused a Labour MP to withdraw her son, claimed North Westminster’s 2006 results were 25%. Again, 25% is not 18%.

The second A* academy, Kingswood Primary School, is not an academy. It’s a community school and part of Gipsy Hill Federation which has strong relations with its local authority, Lambeth*. None of the five schools in the Federation is an academy. Craig Tunstall, executive head of Crawford primary school, one of the Federation schools, told the Guardian in December 2012:

"We like to think we prove there is an alternative to the academy route…We are breaking even, just, but we are backed to the hilt by the local authority. We have to fight for every penny we get, but then we spend it to the hilt on the pupils. We did actually get an academy application from Mr Gove, but we politely sent it back saying no thanks."

The third A* academy in the list is a small chain of academies and free schools, Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust (CHAT), which grew from one school, Cuckoo Hall Academy in Enfield. Cuckoo Hall, which became an academy while the ink on the Academies Act was still wet, is regularly praised by Education Secretary, Michael Gove. He promoted the mistaken view that the present head, Patricia Sowter, turned Cuckoo Hall from a school in special measures to one that was outstanding. This is untrue as has been pointed out several times on this site**. The Evening Standard says every pupil attending CHAT primary schools will be “guaranteed” a place at CHAT’s newly-opened secondary free school, Heron Hall. However, the proposed admission criteria for Heron Hall make it clear that attendance at CHAT primary academies does not guarantee a place at the secondary school although pupils who’ve been on roll without interruption during the primary years at a CHAT academy can have priority.

It’s unclear who’s responsible for this inaccurate information being published but whoever’s at fault should have checked before printing. It makes politicians look silly at best and mischievous at worst when errors are attached to their names.


*See 2013 Ofsted report for another school in the Federation, Crawford Primary school, in which it’s made clear that “The local authority has a strong relationship with the school and the federation.”

**See “More Govian Slips” at the bottom of this thread for further details.

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