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Swiss Cottage School ditches plan to form academy trust

PUBLISHED: 12:37 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:37 16 May 2018

Swiss Cottage School

Swiss Cottage School

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Swiss Cottage School has ditched plans to convert into an academy after being told another school would need to be included in the deal.

Governors had applied for the school, which caters for children aged between two and 19 with special needs and is rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, to be turned into an academy in February last year, despite only seven parents backing the proposal in a consultation.

This had led to protests by placard-bearing union members outside the school gates, before “a substantial majority” of governors voted to apply to the Department for Education (DfE) for academy conversion alongside an ‘empty’ multi-academy trust (MAT).

But the plans have now been scrapped after the Department for Education informed Swiss Cottage’s leadership team that the application needed more than one school to form a multi-academy trust.

The school has the option of applying as a single academy, but has decided not to explore this any further.

Chair of governors Peter Sprinz told the Ham&High: “There is a growing population of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) nationally.

“As a teaching school, we work in partnership with a number of organisations to promote the best outcomes for the wider population of children and young people with SEND. There is no benefit in having another school within our MAT when this school improvement model is already readily available through the teaching school in a way that gives the school ownership and autonomy.

“We have always emphasised our commitment to partnership working with Camden Council and are not seeking autonomy from the local authority through single converter academy status.

“We are now closing the application and will not be pursuing this avenue.”

The Avenue Road school has insisted throughout the process that the exploration of becoming an academy was put forward to provide more school places for kids with special needs in the capital. .

Headteacher Vijita Patel added: “The crisis locally, regionally, and nationally for special school places remains a priority. We remain solution focused to support the 5,000 special school places needed in London.”

Despite ending the application process, the school insisted it is “committed to the core aims and principles” within the consultation document.

For more information on the school visit swisscottage.camden.sch.uk.

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