This weekâ€™s Gazette covered the continuing campaign by the Southall Labour dinosaurs against Featherstone High School becoming an academy. The ambitious management team there want to push their school forward and the matter will be decided at a governing body meeting on Tuesday night. The Southall Councillors, the Labour council leader Julian Bell and the local MP Virendra Sharma have all been leaning on the governors. Apparently Sharma asked to speak at the governing body meeting â€“ ridiculous.
The front man of the anti-campaign, dubbed Southall Against Academies, is Stefan Simms, Socialist Workers Party member and deputy secretary of the Ealing NUT branch. Simms lies casually that moving to academy status is privatisation. It is not.
Academies are OK for Labour Hackney. Mossbourne Academy which replaced the â€œworst school in Britainâ€, Hackney Downs, led by the inspirational Sir Michael Wilshaw, saw 10 of its students get offers from Cambridge last year. Now they call it “the best comprehensive in the country”. Southall Labour arenâ€™t interested.
In Ealing Drayton Manor and Twyford schools are actively considering becoming academies. Indeed we already have the West London Academy. The Labour council will undoubtedly opt to have an academy structure for the new high school in Greenford and the new primary school in Acton on the site of the Priory Community Centre. Academies are fine for Ealing Labour but Southall Labour arenâ€™t interested.
A Southall teacher, Peter Hyman, an ex-speech writer for Tony Blair and deputy head at Greenford High School is trying to set up a free school in Newham. Southall Labour arenâ€™t interested.
The spiteful old farts of Southall so value their own place and prestige over the life chances of their own young people that they are not prepared to let Featherstone fly. Shame on them.