The argument against the academy
Head of Rhyl Primary School, Camden Campaign for State Education supporter
Academies are independent schools and operate outside the law as it applies to other maintained schools. This diminishes the rights for pupils and parents.
Academy governing bodies are also controlled by the sponsor – in this case UCL. In spite of three months alleged consultation on UCL as the preferred sponsor in Camden, we are no nearer to knowing what the make-up of the academy governing body will be, whether its members will be elected or nominated.
If Camden wants a new school that will serve its community and play a full part in the local family of schools, it should reject any idea of an academy and build a new school.
We are very concerned about the decision to support a UCL academy. The mission statement of the proposed academy makes it clear that it is intended to be an elite institution and therefore likely to be very attractive to the more ambitious parents and even if the school doesn’t have a selection policy I am certain that it will be socially selective by the virtue of the middle classes’ sharp elbows as Tony Blair once put it. It would be a tragedy if we unthinkingly threw away one of Camden’s great strengths that lifts it above other boroughs.
UCL staff union
UCL’s ethos is inclusive, aiming to be elite in personal ability but not in finance. Staff uphold the social democratic ideal that education and scientific research are public goods – a prism of knowledge not a mere bauble of achievement. But the academy will necessarily select the wealthier, pushier parents of 11-year-olds – if for no reason than this will be sold to them as a fast track university.
Don’t rush to build an academy, with or without UCL’s involvement, but build a community comprehensive working with the other school. Take UCL up on its offer to support local schools but discard the academy model as not fit for purpose.
Holborn & St Pancras Secondary School Campaign
You know that the south of the borough has highest proportion of disadvantaged children. You cannot fail to know that there is also a particular shortage of places in the south of the borough. Can you really justify spending £25 million on a school for children who might otherwise go to private schools when the south of the borough’s children, the vast majority of whom do not have a choice, are left with so little? It is the wrong place to build the school this borough so desperately needs. You do not have a popular mandate on this issue.
Frank Barnes School
It is, purely and simple, that the removal of this essential provision for profoundly deaf children in London would be a failure on a monumental scale to protect and secure the futures of some of the most disadvantaged members of our society.
This academy’s emphasis on academic excellence is not aimed at raising achievement but attracting elite students.
It will forced a small number of Camden schools to do the same and leave the rest to educate those students who are not among this elite. Camden schools will become polarised. The proposal to close Frank Barnes school is completely unacceptable.
We believe the future for the deaf students at the school has dropped way down the priority list for the council.
Frank Barnes supporter:
I know (my nephew) Sean has hugely benefited from Frank Barnes from being taught to sign. The facilities are amazing. It’s such a shame they’re not offering an alternative. The only options are sending them to boarding schools. I feel very passionately that it’s a great school. Its good that the children have the choice of a deaf school when they are younger. They can be taught a lot more.