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New free school may open in Croydon
06/09/2012 13:24:00


News has reached me that an application by the Harris Federation to open a free school in Croydon has been given outline approval by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.

The school would be called the ‘Harris Aspire Academy Free School’ and is intended to act as an Alternative Provision school for 90 pupils aged 11-19 in the Croydon and Bromley area. The plan is for it to cater for vulnerable pupils, including those with behavioural difficulties, excluded children and teenage parents.

Over the next year the Harris Federation will be assisted by government officials to develop their proposals. Michael Gove will then decide whether to sign a Funding Agreement with the school that’ll mean it can open its doors in September 2013.

The Harris Federation’s track record as an education provider speaks for itself. Their expertise in turning around some of London’s weakest schools - including Stanley Halls Manor in Croydon - is second to none, with nine out of eleven Harris Academies inspected so far have been judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted. It’s good to see that they have a passion for helping out most troubled young people.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the progress of the application and will update residents as soon as I hear more.

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Readers' Comments

On 07/09/2012 16:24:00 Paul Ogier wrote:
Based on over 40 years professional experience mainly in child care/family social work within public services and charities, I find this development worrying in a number of ways.

It appears that we have the potential development of a 'special school' system for a corporate group of academies outside local democratic control/accountability as well as operating a modified national curriculum as per all academies even though supposedly within the state sector. My understanding was that special schools already operated a modified curriculum, so the potential is for a modified curriculum PLUS!

Further, the 'vunerable pupils' and their families are effectively more likely to experience exclusion and discrimination at least from the mainstream, both during their educational experience as well as in their post education lives and therefore in terms of life chances.

Such pupils and their families are likely to have already experienced substantial inequalities and discrimination in their pre-school and primary school years already and therefore a provision, however well-intentioned and resourced, may aggravate such inequalities and discrimination with their provision being effectively excluded from mainstream provision.

Is there any significance in the fact that one of these academies, Stanley Halls, was recently reported to have experienced a lengthy challenge about its admission of a pupil with special educational needs - or more accurately, the NON-admission of a pupil. I think that this aspect of these proposals, i.e. the motivations for such a provision, needs to be carefully interrogated by local and national politicians. How many other pupils have experienced discrimination and 'exclusion' from the other 'feeder' Harris Academies? What are the policies AND PRPOSED PRACTICES for re-integrating pupils into mainstream provsion? Have you shared this information with the MP for Croydon North in whose constituency Stanley Halls Manor is located?




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Gavin Barwell, 133 Wickham Road, CR0 8TE, Tel  020 8663 8741      © Gavin Barwell  2019       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG