Haverstock School ‘abandons’ plans to consider becoming an academy

Haverstock School has abandoned plans to become an academy just days after governors voted to consider opting out of local authority control, sources close to the school have claimed.

The secondary in Haverstock Hill, which famously taught Labour Party leader Ed Milliband and his older brother David, had announced it was planning to assess in detail the possible benefits of changing its status.

Academies are state funded schools which are outside local authority control, and have greater autonomy over their finances and curriculum.

But in a dramatic move, thought to be precipitated by a backlash among teachers and trade unions, Haverstock has indicated it will not be pursuing academy status.

If Haverstock had moved forward, it would have been the borough’s first school to consider becoming a “converter academy” potentially triggering others in the area to follow suit.

Councillors, teachers and education leaders have put much store by the “Camden family of schools” ethos and the close relationships the authority fosters between schools.

And the authority had warned that schools which opt out of local authority control will not recieve cash raised for school repairs.

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But concerns have been growing among headteachers that the new UCL academy, due to open next September in Adelaide Road, Swiss Cottage, poses a serious threat to their pupil recruitment.

The shock revelations come just two weeks after the former head of Ofsted Mike Tomlinson delivered his interim report on the future of Camden’s schools.

In it he warned that changes in government policy, including the proliferation of academies, will alter the council’s educational role. But he said that schools have a strong commitment to a continuing relationship with the authority.

The apparent U-turn at Haverstock suggests that the Camden family of schools has weathered this first storm.

In a statement released yesterday (Wednesday, September 28) morning, a council spokesman said: “While this is a matter entirely for the governing body of the school, we have not yet been formally notified that Haverstock School will no longer be considering the possibility of becoming an academy.

“Camden can rightly be proud of the success of our family of schools over many years and we have welcomed the open approach of the Haverstock governing body to their considerations in this matter.

“We hope to have a continued open dialogue in what appears to be a fast moving situation.”

The school had not commented as the Ham&High went to press.