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Two Islington primary schools to become academies

PUBLISHED: 12:36 16 June 2011

Councillor Richard Watts

Councillor Richard Watts

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»Two primary schools have become the first in Islington to take the controversial decision to become academies – but similar plans have been dramatically blocked at another school.

Governors at New North Community School in Popham Road, Islington, and William Tyndale Primary School in Upper Street, Islington, this week voted to press on with plans to adopt academy status and leave Islington Council’s control.

But the governing body at Pooles Park Primary School, in Lennox Road, Finsbury Park, where the headteacher had also been pushing for the change, rejected the idea.

‘Vulnerable’

Islington Council’s schools chief Councillor Richard Watts criticised the two schools, saying: “Opting out of the council and becoming an academy is risky – it can leave a school isolated and vulnerable when Government cuts their funding, which it has said it will, or should anything go wrong.

“In these tough times, our schools will improve most quickly by working together, not competing against one another.”

Parents at William Tyndale had made a last-ditch attempt to stop the opt-out by gathering a petition of more than 200 signatures on the day the governors met on Tuesday.

New North could face a legal challenge after the handling of its consultation was heavily criticised by the National Union of Teachers.

Ken Muller, assistant branch secretary of Islington NUT, said: “We’re taking legal advice. It was too quick, the financial information given was out of date, and it was only in English, when large numbers of parents don’t have English as a first language.”

New North will now lose services provided by Islington Council, including finance management and behaviour support, and instead get a slice of the borough’s central education pot, to spend as it wishes.

It will also be left out of the council’s policy of providing free school meals for all.

Mary McStay, New North headteacher, said: “We look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners in providing excellent education and services for our community.”


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