Wednesday, June 11, 2008

School closures in Croydon letter

Dear Editor,

News that the Tories are mobilising their forces for a sustained attack on the four schools threatened with closure is to be expected. Leading from the front is trooper and former Tory candidate Tony Pearson disguised in parent governor garb. However, this trooper is not detached from his command. Moreover, he is being steered and led be senior Tories Cllrs Gatland and Barwell. If ever evidence was needed that a systematic underhand campaign was in place to rubbish Selsdon High, Addington High, Haling Manor and Westwood Language College to meet a preferred agenda, then revelations that Mr Pearson sought amendments and clearance from the Conservative hierarchy before submitting his letter to this paper is damning.
Yet, I for one am not surprised. Conservative party form indicates a history of running flawed consultations and mounting campaigns to misinform the parents on this issue of city academies. Evidence of a preferred agenda was on display when the cabinet committee deliberated for a mere 14 minutes Cllr Gatlands recommendation to close Coulsdon High School and reopen it as a city academy within seven months. Letters received that were opposed to the proposed academies were dismissed because they were perceived to be ideologically founded.
In reality, the fact that we have a Conservative party and a Labour party ideologically in favour of closing state schools and reopening them as privately funded city academies is threatening the quality of our boroughs education. Among the 70 councillors in town hall that are supposed to represent us, non are publically opposed to the concept because they all belong to the Conservative and Labour parties. This in turn means it is open season for city academies because no one is speaking out in council to raise concerns and objections and we get situations where city academy status can be rushed through.
In the case of Oasis Trust, the private sponsor selected to take over the public asset that is presently Coulsdon High school, what are the implications of that trust being funded by unnamed institutions and businesses. Only after some probing by yours truly at a public meeting did we discover that Oasis receives funding from the Indian government!! The Rev Steve Chalke founder of Oasis Trust declined to disclose any other donors.
If this council is under the impression that they can attack and destroy our state education system at will then they should be prepared for a vigorous defence from our party.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party
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