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Tory councillor to challenge Michael Gove over Snaresbrook Primary School campaign
A Conservative councillor has vowed to challenge the government over a move to turn a ‘failing’ school into an academy.
Paul Canal is set to meet Education Secretary Michael Gove to discuss Snaresbrook Primary School, which was recently placed in special measures.
Parents and campaigners fear it is being fast-tracked into becoming an academy, in line with the government’s policy to turnaround failing schools.
They say a new management team has already made significant improvements and should be trusted to finish the job.
Others say academy status, which would take the school out of local authority control, would end community accountability.
The school and Redbridge Councillors, who have voted to oppose the academy proposal, insist any final decision will be down to school governors.
Cllr Paul Canal is set to hold talks with Michael Gove at the Tory party conference in Manchester this week to make the case against a change at the school.
He said: “Everyone agrees academy status is the wrong solution for Snaresbrook Primary. The parents don’t want it, the local councillors don’t want it and the borough doesn’t want it.
“I will do all in my power to persuade Michael Gove that the school should remain within the Redbridge School Family."
Despite the government coalition's full backing of the academy programme, Cllr Canal believes his party's flagship policy does not apply to Snaresbrook Primary School.
"Where a school has failed its pupils demonstrably and consistently a move to academy status can be the only way to rescue the education of primary and secondary students," he said.
"Snaresbrook is not a school that has failed consistently. It was judged to be in special measures after an apparently inept period of leadership. It is now once again a 'successful school.' The conditions for the school to become an academy do not therefore exist."
Over 570 people have signed a petition against the change.
“Snaresbrook has some of the most able, passionate and committed parents in the borough,” Cllr Canal added.
“They have put forward a compelling case. It is vital that they are listened to and their community school remains part of their community.”
The Department for Education wrote to the school after it was placed in special measures following a damning Ofsted inspection in July, which rated it inadequate in every category.
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