EXCLUSIVE: Haverstock School to ditch academy move

David Milliband at Haverstock School



HAVERSTOCK Secondary School is set to abandon plans to become an independently-run academy - just four days after governors voted to explore the idea.

The New Journal can reveal an astonishing, speedy turnaround at the Chalk Farm School which has seen staff reassured today that plan has been halted. We revealed yesterday (Wednesday) how Haverstock in Haverstock Hill, namechecked by former pupil Ed Miliband in his party conference speech today, was taking the first steps in a process which could have seen them break free from council control. Governors agreed, in a split vote, to investigate the benefits of becoming an academy.

But teachers and union members were furious that the idea of changing the structure at the school, which has been heralded for its constant improvements over the last decade, was even being considered. At lunchtime the school briefed staff that a consultation programme would be cancelled.

The developments had rung loud alarm bells with many critics in Camden, especially among teachers, councillors and officials who were hoping to keep all of the borough's secondaries united in its famous 'family' of schools. Sceptics believe shifting control to individual sponsors sets schools in feisty competition with each other, at the expense of the schools with the least resources and usually in the poorest areas. Those sympathetic with Haverstock's position say they have an immediate competition coming on its virtual doorstep with the opening of the new UCL academy next year at the other end of Adelaide Road.

The council had already warned secondaries that they would not get any cash the council can raise for school repairs if they followed the academy route. Haverstock, however, was recently rebuilt under a Private Finance Initiative and is the least in need of upgrade work. It is where the Miliband brothers were famously educated and close links with the Labour powerhouses have been maintained with Ed shooting party political broadcasts in its classrooms and David teaching part-time politics lesssons to sixth-formers.

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