Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Is Hackney home to academy fat cats? Debate on 23 March

The Anti Academies Alliance will be holding a "great education debate" at the Round chapel in Lower Clapton on March 23. According to its website, the key speaker will Diane Abbott.

The blub says: "With a General Election looming there is a renewed debate about the future of our schools. Come to this meeting to ask your questions about what’s best for our children... Critics of Academies argue schools are being privatised and divided, and that competition between schools will mean there are winners and losers.
Others argue that the idea of a democratically accountable local authority providing good schools is finished and that ‘trust’ schools are the solution. There is an even more extreme version of privatisation and deregulation. The Tories are talking about creating new, ‘free’ schools which will allow any parents to set up and run their own school... So what do parents really want? Come and hear the debate. Come and ask your questions."

Less than two weeks ago Diane was beside PM Gordon Brown when he announced a new accreditation scheme at Woodberry Down Primary School. Is this the roll-out of the academy programme into primary schools? The full government press release is on Anti Academies Alliance website.

Is Hackney home to Academy fat cats?

One of the stories on the Anti Academies Alliance website is a Sunday Times piece from back in January. It reports that two academy heads are earning £200,000 a year salaries with 11 earning over £150,000 with additional consultancy fees added on top. How much are Hackney heads getting and will we ever know as academies are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act?

Blood and Property recently asked Diane Abbott: "Do you think it is healthy that so many of the borough's schools are now academies - and whether it matters that these schools are not subject to the freedom of information act? - References here: Hackney academies: too good to be true?

DA: I am concerned about the lack of transparency both in relation to academies and in relation to The Learning Trust itself. But there is no question that academies are hugely popular with Hackney parents and they are all massively oversubscribed. Every year I have to counsel parents who are upset because they can not get their child into an academy. Before the academies were built, the majority of Hackney parents sent their children out of the borough for secondary education. Since the academies program started, academies like Mossbourne have produced stellar results. And the number of parents keeping their children in Hackney for secondary education has risen year by year. This must be a good thing."

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