NUT: Prendergasts among six Lewisham schools due to become Academies

East London Lines reports that six Lewisham schools will be converted to Academies in the near future, including the Prendergast Hilly Fields and Ladywell Fields schools. Ignoring the fact that the headline characterises this as a "threat" and "privatisation", the article says:

Six more schools in Lewisham are due to be turned into academies, a meeting of the local National Union of Teachers was told.

Martin Powell Davies, the General Secretary announced: “We now know of six schools that will definitely turn into academies, Prendergast Hilly Fields, Prendergast Ladywells Fields, Prendergast The Vale, SedgeHill School and Bonus Pastor which we already knew about and another that I cannot name as it has not been officially reported and possibly more. We have also been warned of an independent school wanting to set up.”As well as the expansion of academies, two more free schools are opening in Lewisham. 

The Citizen School has been given the go-ahead by the Department for Education to open in September 2016.

Thanks to Joe for the heads-up.


PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

In the same way the miners were targeted in the 1980s by Thatcher when she branded them The Enemy Within, so Teachers are now in the frame. Similar by the now departed from office Michael Gove, who branded some teachers as the "enemies of promise" and part of The Blob.
Today in The Sun newspaper you have Rod Liddle - in a widely trailed column, declaring that "Teachers need to be a taught a lesson" and that "I can't think of a single profession that needs a bigger shake up than our teachers"

The Daily Mail, created a faux controversy, declaring that teachers were being "paid to strike" when it was simply the normal practice of drawing from a strike fund, which they- the teachers pay into, precisely for that purpose.

But the key thing here is not about teachers, or government its about children. The future of country. Most teachers are humane, kind and what the best for kids, but they have demonised for years.

We get all this nonsense - from Gove about Marxist teaching schools. Schools promote liberal, humanitarian values, essentially enlightenment values and the humanities are important. It's important that kids, can think, imagine, as well as calculate and read. You want a rounded human being to produced out of the 12 years of education.

When you hear these stories about a kid who's had 12 years of education but has somehow fallen through the system and still can't read. It's all blamed on teachers. For something like that to happen, its not simply teachers something is going wrong in that kids life and that exploration and sensitive approach.

Education and the direction is a huge topic. We will stop here.

Brockley Nick said...

Of course, the right is not the only side guilty of "demonisation". The attacks on Academies and Free Schools from the left are also often OTT. And the personal attacks on one of our local heads from the left were particularly nasty.

Danja said...

Most teachers are humane, kind and what the best for kids, but they have demonised for years.
Yes, I remember them doing that a lot.

Dismayed said...

Interestingly, the proposal to become an academy has only just been put to the governing body at Prendergast and is supposedly only at consultation stage, so it is concerning (if not surprising) to hear that this is 'definitely' happening - it makes a mockery of the whole process. And if not the governers, then who exactly has made this decision?

barryls said...

Some well argued points. Most teachers wish they could just be left alone to teach though. It's amazing to see the rapid improvement at Ladywell Fields too. Lets hope it doesn't end up as the KFC Ladywell Fields College.

Moan moan moan said...

Trust me I'm a teacher, I know what is best for education! Oh yeah? Most professions just want to make it easy for themselves.

Many of us have very bad memories of being on the receiving end of an education service that put teachers interests first with few checks on the uneven and often abysmal standards that resulted.

Teachers unions having battles with the government over the politics of how the education service is delivered? Nothing new there. Pretty irrelevant to most students and parents, who just want a good education and don't care much about the political machinery.

Huge amounts of money have been ploughed into the education service in the past couple of decades. Lots of bright shiny new schools everywhere and expectations are high.

That is a good thing.

Martin said...

Promoting liberal, humanitarian values is important however poor children from unprivileged families need more. How many children from social housing in Lewisham will end up in quality employment and live quality life? I think what is required is a balance between humanitarian values that you mention and the scientific, strict approach. I believe that the latter is better at fixing inequalities in the society and I think it gets less attention in state schools.
It's not like I'm trying to defend Gove's policies - to be fair I don't really follow what the changes are about. However I do see that state schools don't give equal opportunities to children. Unlike in Asia or some European countries (where I'm from) going to a state school almost certainly closes some career choices in your life.

Monkeyboy said...

Your right, look at the stunningly mediocre people running the country who climbed the greasy pole partly because they went to "the right school"

Monkeyboy said...

...and the vast majority of people go through the state school system and do just fine. Most doctors, most engineers, most professionals and their children. Not just the "poor and underprivileged" so it's not quiet the cul de sac you describe.

Blob said...

They often had ambitious parents who knew how to play the 'system' and get their kids into the schools that provide the social networks that lead to high status jobs.

The way plum jobs are obtained has little to do with noble ideas, liberal humanitarian values or reason. If it was meritocratic we would not have half the cock ups that are so evident when people who get into positions of great responsibility are found wanting. There is little that can be done about this, you can't change your parents, some people get dealt a very bad hand of cards. Nor is it easy to change a culture that tends towards inequality. This ain't Sweden. We tolerate a certain amount of failure at the top and stories about the revelations about the incompetences of the once high and mighty fills the newspapers.

However, we should not tolerate failure at the bottom, which affects a much larger part of society. There is much that can be done to bring schools from a minimum up to an acceptable standard. If that means trying every means possible to stop schools and teachers from failing to provide a decent education, then so be it.

When there is clearly investment going into new schools and efforts being made to make existing ones better, that is encouraging. No matter how much teachers and their unions may grumble about it.

Decent schools are in important part of the safety net that prevents people from falling through the cracks in the education system. If they fail, the people poorly served don't go away, their poor education will lead to problems persist through life and affect many others. We all pay in the end.

Turning around failing schools is key and I am sure it is not a task for the feint hearted.

Monkeyboy said...

you forgot to mention stacks of cash to enable them to get into the kind of schools that have the resources and social networks to get those jobs. its not a minor factor.

prendergastperson said...

As I understand it, many teachers are very unhappy about this plan and hoping to block it... And as I'm sure everyone knows, having good teachers who feel supported and have high morale is key to an outstanding school. (And I'm not a teacher by the way!) I think there's a meeting at 6 pm this Monday 17th at the Railway Telegraph SE23 1PS. It will be mainly teachers, organised by NUT - however, concerned parents are welcome to go along, learn more and get involved..

Primeval Mudd said...

Hi, the East London Lines article reckons it's the The Telegraph Pub, Brockley. Do you know which it is? I might have just emailed the wrong pub to a lot of folk!

Prendergastperson said...

Hmmm. That's odd. I have an email from a P teacher telling me it's the railway telegraph. I'll double-check with staff and post when I get a reply...

Prendegastperson said...

Rumour is that David Sheppard, superhead of the federation brought in from Charter in dulwich ( which he turned into an academy) is the driving force.

prendergastperson said...

It's definitely the Railway Telegraph - 112 Stanstead Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 1BS

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

We've edited thanks.

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

Demonisation from either side is not good, you want proper analysis of what's going on, not caricatures or misinformation.

What concerns the anti-academy side of the argument are situations like this with Greg Martin, Sir Greg Martin. ->

Academies are promoted as raising standards, so money, from the public purse floods in. With the Durand academy example we see a CEO/Executive pay culture has developed for people who aren't actually delivering education. Sir Greg Martin is on £230k. His ex-wife does the day-to-day running of the school. She's on £100k. And sadly, if you determine a school's standards purely on Ofsted grading, this school, the Durand Academy has gone from Outstanding to Good.

With academisation, there are issues with governance, transparency and acquisition of public assets for private gain.

But people need to explore these things for themselves. Do go to the advertised meeting if you can.

Mark said...

Then I suppose he can double his salary after. Didn't this happen to Deptford Green, then the Head cleared off. This really cannot be driven by one unaccountable person. For start it is not as if the schools in the Federation are under performing.

StopAcadmiesinLewisham said...

A lively meeting this evening and any parent, teacher or interested party who wants to find out about future plans to oppose more Academies in Lewisham, share information, get involved or lobby please join the following facebook group:

heads or tails said...

If they don't work, they can be closed down and some certainly are.

Better that than tolerate years of inadequate education of the young because the priority is to preserve the jobs of teachers in local authority controlled 'bin' schools.

There are two sides to this coin.

prendergastperson said...

At the meeting, it was noted that, at the moment, parents don't have a way
to make any comment on the proposed changes. The timetable is
tight. Governors will make a decision in January - and any objections by parents needs to made by 5 December 2014. These can be made to Clerk to the Governors. Email is

He will then take all concerns to the Academies working party.

PeoplesAssemblySEL said...

To say that 'inadequate education' is tolerated Is a characterisation that doesn't fit with the reality of what's going on now. Teachers have a tremendous amount of scrutiny on them. The schools inspection system, Ofsted is pretty rigorous too.

Look what happened to local schools, Beecroft school, John Stainer, in recent years, all within the state, non academised system.

Academisation is not about raising standards, that's already being done. Academisation is about, ideology, the transfer of state assets to the private sector.
Read up thoroughly on it.

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