Please sign our petition to keep Tory hands off our local schools.
For more than a decade Hackney has been at the forefront of innovation in education, and we pragmatically embraced the original academy model when it was proposed by the last Labour government as a way of delivering real investment in our schools. Starting with Mossbourne, and followed by Petchey, Bridge, the City Academy, Clapton, Skinners, and now a second Mossbourne Academy, the programme has helped to completely change the opportunities available to our young people by creating schools that now match their expectations, while crucially still working with the Council and the community in a family of schools.
What the Tories have never understood is that becoming an academy should be a choice made by schools, governing bodies, parents and the local community - not all schools need to follow this path. In addition the Government has also revealed their plans for new grammar schools in England. This policy will do nothing to improve social mobility. The Institute for Fiscal Studies report on Entry into Grammar Schools in England (2013) concludes that pupils who in live in poorer neighbourhoods or who are eligible for free school meals are significantly less likely to go to a grammar school. Is there no end to the Tory turmoil in education?
The Council has supported our maintained schools to improve through the Building Schools for the Future programme. The programme invested over £200m and part of the reason that this investment in our schools has paid dividends is that we were able to shape it, allowing the Council and the Hackney Learning Trust to lead politically and financially at a local level, directly responding to the needs and aspirations of our residents. We are rightly proud that now 83 per cent of Hackney’s children attend our excellent local secondary schools.
I have met with Hackney’s Head Teachers to brief them and seek their views; met with local representatives of local trades union; worked with other lead members in London through the London Councils Children’s Forum; and met London MPs in Parliament to brief them on the possible impact on schools across the city. I have raised concerns on the Local Government Association as a Children and Young People Board Member. I have worked with officers as part of the Government's consultation process to outline the concerns for local schools, and with Philip Glanville, organised a Hackney Labour delegation to The People's Assembly's March earlier this year. I know working with him we can take the fight to the Tories.
There have been some successes - the changes to the National Funding Formula having been delayed by at least a year. We are also taking the essential step of planning for new school places, in partnership with the City of London we will create 1650 new places and look to redevelop existing primary schools and build a new Britannia Leisure Centre.
The Council is developing solutions to ensure that the local authority remains a fundamental part of education in our borough, ensuring continued improvement and leadership, so that we can continue to reflect what the people of Hackney need and want, and ensure true accountability where it matters most and where it is most effective.
We can only continue this vital work to safeguard Hackney’s education working with a strong Labour Mayor. Please sign our petition to show your support for our campaign against the Tories’ ill-thought-out plans to reform education and help us to protect our successes.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People
We the undersigned fundamentally believe that what our local schools need is good leadership and quality first teaching within a supported system, not the Government’s dictatorial approach to shaping local schools.
The Tory’s costly system change of one-size fits all will see removing a large amount of the individual pupil funding in London, forced academisation and the ending of parent governors.
Our local schools have their individuality while being part of the Hackney family of schools, all this could be lost through forced academisation and changes to the National Funding Formula. This system does not celebrate the education landscape of Hackney but seeks to fragment it.
We call on the Government to reconsider and abandon these plans!