Friday, September 14, 2007

City Academies letter sent to the papers


Dear Editor,

News that The Oasis Trust has won the task of transforming Coulsdon High School into a City Academy is of grave concern and somewhat confusing considering the schools’ web site points out that Ofsted now say that Coulsdon High is a rapidly improving school.

Councillors and those officers involved in this decision have shown a lack of patience with this school.

Creating this academy will result in the transfer of £25 million of public money to an unaccountable sponsoring body – the Christian based Oasis Trust. They will receive the entire school budget directly from the Government.

The existence of a facility to give priority to children of a particular faith means it is possible for The Oasis Trust to refuse places to local pupils. The impact of faith may not stop there. The City Academies set up Sir Peter Vardy, the wealthy entrepreneur behind the Reg Vardy chain of car dealerships, disclosed that its pupils were being taught the Old Testament belief that God created the world from nothing in six days.

The Oasis Trust will have responsibility for all aspects of the Academy, including staff appointments, pupil admissions, curriculum and governance arrangements. Indeed it is already clear that most spots on the board of governors will be filled by representatives of the trust.

Reports show that City Academies damage the operation of local accountability, breaking the links between parents and elected councillors. Croydon Council will have no responsibility for this Academy, but may still end up having to make up any shortfall in funding from the Oasis Trust or Department of Children Schools and families.

The argument that Coulsdon High has lost the confidence of local parents is difficult to make when one considers that as a City Academy, local parents will end up having NO influence on how their local school is run.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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