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Council Back Parents No To Academy Status

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

GMB Applaud Barking And Dagenham Council Challenge To Ruling That Warren Comprehensive School Should Become An Academy

84.5% of parents voted against school becoming an Academy so Gove should accept democracy under localism on the future of their children’s educational standards says GMB.

GMB, the union for school support staff, welcomed the resolve of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to challenge the decision by the Secretary of State for Education, in a letter dated 12 May from Lord Nash, the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Schools, that the Warren Comprehensive School in Barking and Dagenham should become an academy.

Keith Williams, GMB Senior Organiser, said “GMB applaud and fully support the stance taken by Cllr Smith on behalf of parents and the community in challenging the decision of Michael Gove to now force a further Academy Order on Warren School. See notes to editors for statement by council leader and chair of Governors.

Michael Gove once again is trying to put political ideology above the future of children's education, and disregard the democratic views of parents whose opposition against the previous attempt by Michael Gove to impose an Academy Order on Warren School was an integral part of the successful judicial review taken by the School and the London Borough of Barking& Dagenham.

This latest decision  is no more than a blatant bullying tactic by the Secretary of State for Education  all because the School and the Council challenged successfully Michael Gove in the high courts on behalf of the parents and the wider community in Barking & Dagenham.

Michael Gove has either a short memory or amnesia. He appears to conveniently forget that his government introduced the Localism Act, the Act of which was put in place to devolve decision making and powers away from central Government towards local people to make decisions and reflect local circumstances as to the services they want in the community.

84.5% of parents have exercised that right, and voted overwhelmingly against their children's school becoming an Academy. Michael Gove should stop been the maverick of Whitehall and accept that the community of Barking & Dagenham have taken  a democratic decision under localism with regards to the future of their children’s educational standards. 

This comes just as my GMB colleagues on the South Coast are organising a public meeting in the coming weeks to enable parents, staff and the community to ask the necessary questions about the failed Trust at East Sussex Academy in Bexhill. The Prospects Academies Trust that ran this school, as well five schools in Devon and Gloucestershire, has now folded after the Government said it could not take on any new schools because of concerns over poor standards.”


Contact Keith Williams on 07710 631 339 or Sandra Vincent 07961 896567 or Brendan Duffield Branch Secretary on 0208 227 2141 or 07870 278442 or Avril Chambers 07974 251766

Notes to editors

Statement by Cllr Liam Smith “This decision just shows how little the views of local people mean to the Secretary of State.

We have been through a formal consultation and the vast majority of parents support the federation with a neighbouring school rather than the academy proposal. 85 per cent of people who responded to the consultation were in favour of the school remaining ‘a local authority school in a hard federation with Robert Clark School.

We can’t understand why the Secretary of State would want to dismantle this and bring in a new partner from a different school when all agree that what we have in place is making a great difference. It's clear that this is an ideologically motivated decision - driven by Michael Goves obsession with centralising power, removing local democratic accountability, and the important role of the local community has in running the schools that their children attend. His free schools vanity project is failing, and in his desperation to secure a legacy his bullying tactics have once again come to the fore. Our community is united, our staff and pupils are united - and will we fight his bullying tactics to protect our community comprehensive with everything we have got. "

Our position remains that the improvements at the school, and the arrangements we have put in place are having a very positive impact on outcomes for children, and as such, imposing an academy will be disruptive to the children’s education. Governors, and those who have responded to the consultation to date, are very positive about the Hard Federation.

We are studying the contents of the letter received from Lord Nash dated 12 May 2014 and the proposal to make an academy order at Warren School and the Council will make a decision on the way forward in due course.”

We have considered the letter from Lord Nash dated 12 May 2014 and the proposal to make an academy order at Warren School and the Council will be challenging this decision.”

Statement by Sarah Scrace, Chair of Governors: “We’re are extremely disappointed at the news, especially at this point in time when our oldest children are right now in the middle of exams in one the most important weeks in their academic lives. We will continue to work hard to maintain the focus on the children, their education and their outcomes.

As governors we want to continue to do what is right for the children and will fight this in any way we can. The Council has been very supportive so far and has worked with our school and Robert Clack to help bring about the improvements to date.”



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