Leading academy could run ‘chain’ of Haringey schools

Alexandra Park School could govern other schools in Haringey

Alexandra Park School could govern other schools in Haringey - Credit: Archant

An ‘outstanding’ academy could unite Haringey schools once they tumble out of local authority control, affecting thousands of children and their parents.

Alexandra Park School might run a “chain” of Haringey schools, allowing them to remain connected, rather than fragmenting and following contrasting policies.

This follows Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget announcement that all schools must become academies by 2022, meaning they will be independent, rather than council-run.

Alexandra Park School, which became an academy in 2011, is consulting parents over plans to become a multi academy trust (MAT) which would allow it to govern a group of schools.

In an open letter to headteacher Mike McKenzie, Haringey Council supported the move.

“The government’s stated intent that all schools will become academies over the next few years risks fragmenting the local system to the disadvantage of Haringey’s children and young people,” deputy chief executive Zina Etheridge said.

“We are therefore keen to see local multi academy trusts, whose values and priorities ensure that every child, whatever their background or ability, can thrive.

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And in a private letter to the headteacher, council leader Claire Kober bolstered the support.

“Home grown, locally focused multi academy trusts have an important role to play,” she wrote.

“I am therefore keen to see outstanding local schools like Alexandra Park School, who place a high value on collaboration with other schools, and inclusion for all children, continue to play a leading role in driving educational excellence locally.”

Alexandra Park School is consulting with parents and carers about the radical changes.

In a message on the school website, headteacher Mr McKenzie explained top schools are expected to take the lead in a new educational environment.

“Schools and academies judged “outstanding” by Ofsted inspectors... are now responsible for taking a lead role and working collaboratively with other schools, providing support where necessary,” he wrote.

In a further letter to parents, he explained multi academy trusts are not under any obligation to enter into a contract with other schools.

But - crucially - they would have the choice to do so.

Once schools convert to academies, they are funded directly directly by the government and are no longer obliged to follow the national curriculum.

Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green commented: “Alexandra Park School is an outstanding school and I look forward to hearing what emerged from their parent engagement strategy”.

- The parent consultation will run until May 13: alexandrapark.school/quick-links/parents/mat-consultation