An inspiring film on the efforts of parents at Downhills Schools to fight forced academy status, together with reasons why the Gove-rnment was wrong!  Link here

One O'Clock Clubs:  Wandsworth are planning on closing all but 3 One O'Clock clubs in the borough.  To see more and to sign the petition click here

Burntwood School
The School is "consulting" about academy status - a parents' group and the unions think this is not the best thing for the school.  The survey carried out by the parents indicates that the majority of parents do not think that conversion to academy status is a good thing.

How we are paying to be manipulated into believing that academies are successful.  It is another example of "it's a good day to bury bad news".
Academy Exam Results

The way exam results are published enable the academies' pr machine to make claims which cannot be challenged unless individual academies publish their full results.  Full results only become available in January.

However, Richard Hatcher has looked at ARK - Wandsworth Council's favoured chain and has published the following:



ARK reported their 5 Academies’ GCSE results in a press release on 23 August headlined:  ‘Average 6.5 percentage point network improvement each year since academies opened’.  

What they oddly fail to mention is that in 4 of the 5 schools with a GCSE cohort the percentage of pupils gaining 5 A*-C grades this year has fallen since 2011. 

Burlington Danes is down from 75% to 64%. 

Walworth from 69 to 62. Globe from 45 to 43. 

St Alban’s from 68 to 50. 

The only school to improve is Charter from 39 to 49. 

The average percentage in the 5 ARK schools has dropped from 59% in 2011 to 54% in 2012.

The full 2011 GCSE exam results have been published.  See here
Clearly there is a lot of information to digest but early indications support the research which was done before.  Dr Wrigley writes:

The academies supposed 'success' is due to their exploiting the alternative qualifications that Gove is so suspicious of. 
These are the figures:(from table 5 of the Statistical First Release sfr02-2012nt)

All maintained schools
53.2% GCSEs alone     59.1% GCSEs and equivalents (i.e. 6 pp due to the equivalents)
38.3% GCSEs alone     50.1% GCSEs and equivalents (i.e. 12 pp due to equivalents)

Remember that academies had a big injection of extra funding from the government but the so-called sponsors often did not put money where their mouths were.  Obviously the 100 or so civil servants have had plenty of time to look at the results.  We have only seen them now (end of January).

On the question of money:  How much is the Government putting into forcing its academy and 'free' school programme at the cost of all other schools.  A look at the Department for Education website shows how far the Government will go to try to force their ideology on schools.
But is this really what they should be spending our money on?  Where is the discussion about good classroom practice?

Michaela Community School
Following the announcement that the School will not be opening in September 2012, it is to be hoped that we will not be seeing it open in Wandsworth.  We have put in a Freedom of Information request to ask how much the Department of Education have given to the MCS for this abortive project.

We also wonder if the associates of Katharine Birbalsingh have become embarrassed.  

Why would a private company want to set itself up as a local authority, in effect, if not for profit?
Is there any local authority, any teacher, any board of governors which would not claim to be offering what the Elliott Foundation is offering? The difference is they don't do it to make money and the Elliott Foundation will be exempt from local scrutiny and accountability. Read More
In Brent ARK were also part of a scheme to build on public playing fields on the excuse that they wanted to build a new school: did they make a profit from the sale?

Free Schools: a response to need or a business opportunity at our expense.
It has been brought to our attention that someone who joined the Nappy Valley website in January '12 is looking for people to support her in setting up a free school. The questions have to be:
  • why? 
  • what does she know about the local schools? 
  • is this just a business opportunity at the expense of other schools?
Is this the main reason some people join these websites?

The overall education budget is not being increased.  Mistakes have been made in the money given to converting academies.  This means that, since extra money is being put into the "free" school and academies programmes, money is being taken from other education services.  We are beginning to get evidence of higher insurance costs, higher licence fees, etc.  Insurance costs may be paid in the short term by the Young Peoples Learning Agency (YPLA) but for how much longer.

Are schools being expected to be the parents?
Note: Mr Burkard doesn't mention his and his wife's financial incentive.  Listen Carefully

Shouldn't money be spent on Education not public relations?

Was the New Schools Network given £1/2million deliberately to ensure secrecy?     Press
Why would emails about academies be sent from private email accounts instead of from the DfE Read

Healthy Diets in Free schools and academies?  read more

Wandworth Against Cuts is trying to log all cuts to services or jobs in Wandsworth:

If you know of other cuts, please record them on the website or email: wac.doc@btinternet.com
Freedom of Information Act 2000
We have had it confirmed by a solicitor that Academies are no longer exempt from the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  This is good news and means that they cannot now hide embarrassing information, which they have been able to do up to now.  However, in response to the following FoI request to the West London "Free" School 

The date of the signing of the Funding Agreement

The date the headteacher took up his appointment

    The date of the headteachers first pay and source of funding for his salary
the following has been received:  
The West London Free School Academy Trust 
has been advised by the DfE that it is not subject to the FOIA until  the school  opens in September. In due course we expect the DfE to  make the funding agreement public in common with other academy funding  agreements. The free school is a state funded academy and its source  of funding is the DfE. We do not consider it appropriate to enter into  a dialogue with you on the specific details of the headteacher's contract.

The question remains: was the head teacher employed before the funding agreement was signed?  As with the Bolingbroke, isn't it being taken for granted that the funding agreement will be signed?  How much scrutiny is there?  Who is paying Katharine Birbalsingh and what was the selection process that appointed her as head in waiting?

WSOS would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those teachers and support staff who have worked hard throughout the last year to give Wandsworth students the best possible opportunities.  We also congratulate and commend parents for working with schools; without their encouragement nothing could be achieved.

click on topic for the link

Ignore the Advert

Academy planning changes to terms - fine unless you have children at 2 schools! Was this part of the consultation?

A trustee at a Lincolnshire group of academy schools is calling for a government report into its finances to be made public.

More evidence of the ways academies claim to improve results unfairly.

Yet another Oasis academy fails to make the grade - this time primary.

2011 GCSE results show that academies do worse than community schools

Academy funding is flawed

Selling Schools?
Could this happen in the UK?  Swedish "free" school companies already operate here

Free schools 'will not boost access to good schools'

Wandsworth Save Our Schools,
11 Mar 2012, 03:08