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Tidemill school - victory for parents
ONE OF the flagship academies planned was Tidemill Primary School in Deptford in south London. Head master Mark Elms, who achieved widespread media attention when he became Britain's highest-paid 'superhead', has been trying to turn Tidemill into an academy.
But on 18 January, the school governors withdrew their application for academy status, despite voting to go ahead by eight votes to five only the previous month. Parents, teachers and local residents led by Leila Galloway, the mother of two Tidemill pupils, have been running a campaign against these plans (see The Socialist 642).
Campaigners opposed academy status for many reasons. The campaign's solicitors reported that the school failed to comply with its public sector equality duties - the need to promote race, gender and disability equality and tackle discrimination. They had also decided on a misunderstanding as to the basis on which parental views had been obtained.
Their hard work has unearthed that, apart from the flaws in the basic arguments for academies, there were serious flaws and miscalculations in their figures. Elms and the pro-academy faction seem to have been most worried by the solicitors' allegations that they "considered misleading and/or incorrect financial information."
For example, the school estimated that it would cost them £60,000 to pay for additional services previously provided by the local education authority (Lewisham council). The Department for Education estimates the cost at £78,000 while Lewisham estimates the figure to be over £229,000.
So the governors at Tidemill, probably fearing being subjected to a judicial review, withdrew their application.
Leila Galloway believes Elms may well try to present the application again at some stage. But along with local campaigners, she sees Tidemill governors' withdrawal as a victory for parents and local residents. The Deptford Says No campaign will keep fighting to stop this planned academy.
- More information on: academies.sayingno.org
In The Socialist 26 January 2011:
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
National Shop Stewards Network
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party schools features
Socialist Party review