Academies rob us of power

15th July 2005 at 01:00
Philip O'Hear ("Give academies a chance", TES, July 1) has missed the point. Yes, academies are state-funded, but they are not a true part of a local family of schools. Any local control through governors and the education authority is swept away and the sponsors hold total power.

Thorne grammar school (an 11-18 comprehensive) becomes Trinity academy, Doncaster, in September. In Doncaster education authority's inadequate consultation exercise, just 18 parents agreed to this new academy. Yet the mayor's cabinet gave it the green light.

The sponsor, Emmanuel Schools Foundation (formerly the Vardy Foundation) will now impose its religious ethos, dated dress code and draconian sanctions policy. Parents will have an insignificant voice in the governance of the academy.

The total power of the sponsor is shown by it insisting a thriving youth club on the site is demolished. Doncaster LEA does not have the funds to replace it.

What is more infuriating is that the main building and adjoining land is being sold by the sponsors for housing. The proceeds could have funded a new youth club.

The people of Conisbrough, another part of Doncaster, wisely rejected advances from the Vardy Foundation. Northcliffe school remains where it belongs, owned and controlled by the community.

Tony Brookes

Headteacher, Thorne grammar school 1987 - 2002

Windyridge, Thorne

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