Call for political unity in opposing school academy plans (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Call for political unity at Redbridge Council in opposing school academy plans
The Liberal Democrats have called on all councillors in Redbridge to back a motion rejecting proposals to force a primary school to become an academy.
The Department of Education (DfE) has written to governors at Snaresbrook Primary, in Meadow Walk, South Woodford, raising the prospect of "academisation" after the school was placed in special measures following a damning Ofsted report in July.
But families say the move is unnecessary because a new headteacher has since been employed who has already dramatically turned around the school's fortunes.
Cllr Richard Hoskins, of Church End ward, said his party would table a motion at this Thursday's full council meeting objecting to the proposals in the hope of sending a "strong message" to the government that the plans were not wanted.
He said: "Following contacts from many parents and carers of Snaresbrook pupils it is clear to me that there is no case for the school to be converted into an academy.
"After years of approval by Ofsted they suddenly downgraded their assessment and now the school is threatened with unwanted and unneeded Academy status.
"The new leadership now in place is perfectly well able to restore the school to its earlier good performing standard...
"It is now time for the whole council to say 'Hands off Snaresbrook Primary'. That's what I hope will happen on Thursday”.
Leyton and Wanstead Labour MP John Cryer is also understood to be opposed to the plans, while Woodford Green Conservative councillor Paul Canal wrote on Twitter he was "concerned" about pressure the DfE was putting on the school.
Governors are due to meet tonight to discuss the plans, with parents planning a protest to coincide with the meeting outside the school at 6pm.
Government policy is that schools judged to be inadequate should normally be converted to academies sponsored by other schools or education groups, meaning that they break away from local council control and, in theory, improve as a result.
But critics argue there is no evidence for this and that it is a way for the government to increase the level of private sector involvement in the nation's education system.
The Guardian is awaiting a comment from the DfE.
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