Monday, December 01, 2008

Letter sent to the editor on the Secondary review

Dear Editor,

Now that another informal consultation on Croydon Schools Secondary Review is under way, followed by the statutory equivalent in the new year; I sincerely hope that parents and pupils are able to have access to all the facts in order to participate in the consultations. The formation of ‘Croydon SOS’, a couple of months back, seeks to achieve just that.

Croydon SOS or to give the organisation its full title ‘Save our Schools in Croydon’ is made up of representatives from a variety of backgrounds including, the Croydon Green Party, NUT, NUSUWT and the British Humanist Association. Each one of the representatives has the same motivation as every parent in Croydon - to ensure that children in Croydon have the best possible education, and here Croydon SOS believes this can best be achieved when the schools are governed in the interests of children not through private individuals or businesses.

In the near future, I don’t want a mother from a local school asking me how it came to be that the Academy sponsor selected is now demanding that pupils study creationism. I also don’t want another mother asking me why the assets to a school, where her son attends, were handed over to a public limited company that is now affected by the financial downturn and wants to pull out. These are actual cases.

Unfortunately, this council is only presenting their side of the story and stifling attempts to have an open debate about the proposed academy status of Haling Manor, Ashburton and Selsdon High. Croydon SOS have tried to inform parents by leafleting outside schools and asked to use pupil post schemes but these methods have been blocked. It is paramount that parents are properly informed on the ramifications of Academy status. Parents should be balloted on these proposals. This has been the process in other parts of the country.

Given the obstacles Croydon SOS has experienced, I would urge parents to find out more through and

The public are being fed this Academy nonsense by both Labour and Conservative parties. This Labour government want to turn 400 more secondary schools into Academies. Meanwhile the Tories want to open over 1000. Data from an evaluation of Academies by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that the government claim that these schools raise standards is highly questionable. This research indicates that Academies skew their intakes in favour of those from higher-achieving backgrounds and exclude more children than maintained schools. As a result community schools are adversely affected. Local authorities can ‘direct’ maintained schools to accept special needs and looked after children but can only ‘ask’ Academies.

Other countries around the world have a good local school for every child, why can’t we?

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party and Croydon SOS.

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