It makes sense to see school through
I am writing in regard to your article on primary schools merging with academies and hard federations ("These children are in primary, but academy heads want to take over their education," February 26).
My experience shows this is possible and, indeed, successful as long as all parties agree.
We are a hard federation and have recently opened our second all-through three-to-19 academy, with plans underway for our third.
In September 2008 we opened Hatcham Temple Grove, the primary phase for Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College, Lewisham. It was a former maintained primary school. In September 2009 we opened Crayford Temple Grove, again a former maintained primary school which is the primary phase for our newest academy Haberdashers' Aske's Crayford Academy, Bexley.
The primaries have been rebranded under the Haberdashers' ethos.
As Mike Butler, chairman of the Independent Academies Association, predicts, our experience has been that there are primaries who are keen to work with academies and the mergers have been popular with students, parents and staff.
Primary and secondary schools relish this opportunity to be able to innovative and bridge the transition gap.
As with the secondary schools, all of the primary phases are accountable to the federation governing body and our sponsors.
There are many advantages to primary schools becoming part of academy federations. We can share resources and primary students can use the specialist facilities at our secondary schools.
Due to the economies of scale our federation is able to offer all primary phase students a free school meal at lunchtime regardless of parental income.
There is also automatic entrance to the secondary school for all primary phase students and this seamless transition, we believe, dramatically reduces the dip seen from key stage 2 to 3.
Dr E M Sidwell, Chief executive, Haberdashers' Aske's Federation, London.