Camden Junior School to become a Harris academy

Camden Junior School to become a Harris Academy

Camden Junior School to become a Harris Academy

First published in News
Last updated
Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter covering Wandsworth

The Department for Education has chosen the Harris Federation to take over Camden Junior School – despite a survey which revealed 99 per cent of people were against it.

Sutton Council has expressed its regret this morning as their preferred sponsor was the local Greenshaw High School. Both the council and the Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake are looking into whether it is possible to appeal the decision.

The Secretary of State Lord Nash has sent a letter home to parents and said: “In terms of experience and track record, we do not believe the Greenshaw team match the strength and experience of Harris in turning round failing schools with access to some of the best school improvement leaders in the country.”

He said that to do otherwise would be “too great a risk for children who have already experienced over 15 months at a school in special measures who now need immediate help to improve their situation”.

The Harris Federation devised a consultation exercise to find out people’s views on whether the Camden should convert to an academy under its sponsorship.

A staggering 494 out of 545 respondents expressed their preference for Camden to be taken over by Greenshaw High School.

Parents also launched a campaign to back Camden Juniors becoming a sponsored academy with Greenshaw as they felt the school would have a better understanding about what pupils and parents in Sutton need.

But despite this the Department for Education went with their preferred sponsor Harris due to their expertise, ability to deploy resources quickly and their good track record.

Your Local Guardian:

Councillor Ruth Dombey, leader of Sutton Council, said: “The council, MPs and everybody agreed Greenshaw was the best option.

“What we did was come up with a really good solution. But I’ve got to be leader of the council as well and all these kids have a right to good education.

“I just find it extraordinary – over 98 per cent [were against].

“So much for localism. People feel completely disempowered some parents worked incredibly hard on that campaign – what’s the point if the decision was made behind closed doors?”

Your Local Guardian:

Tom Brake, the MP for Carshalton and Wallington said: “I’m clearly very disappointed at the outcome when the community had expressed a very clear preference for the local sponsor Greenshaw.

“When there is more than one sponsor for a school I think it is completely wrong for the Department for Education to express a preference. It risks predetermining the outcome.

“That is a point the Department for Education have heard from me and will follow up on. When this happens parents want to be certain that a potential sponsor has an equal chance.”

Spokesperson for the Keep Camden Local campaign said: "We are very disappointed that Lord Nash and the Department for Education ignored what was presented to them. Greenshaw had the strongest case and local support."   

A Harris Federation spokeswoman said: "As a sponsor with a firm track record of establishing outstanding schools near to Camden, we have the plans, resources and expertise to make sure its children, now and in the future, get the excellent education they deserve.

"We firmly hope and believe that, through providing local children with a primary education that develops them as learners and that they enjoy, in an environment in which they feel happy and secure, we will repay the faith that has been put in us to accelerate progress and achievement at the school.”

More to follow.


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Comments (6)

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10:01am Thu 15 Aug 13

Giles C says...

Yet again we have an issue which our MPs decided to coattail on and yet again we discover they have no influence at all.

Tom Brake may be a nice bloke but Burstow is only an MP for Burstow and when will people wake up to this fact....
Yet again we have an issue which our MPs decided to coattail on and yet again we discover they have no influence at all. Tom Brake may be a nice bloke but Burstow is only an MP for Burstow and when will people wake up to this fact.... Giles C
  • Score: 9

11:41am Thu 15 Aug 13

ladyloki says...

Bitterly disappointing as parents and the Keep Camden Local team campaigned so hard on this. Now Harris have a foothold in Sutton you can bet they're going to creep their way into other schools too. How they can take a decision that flies in the face if 99% of public opinion is staggering.
Bitterly disappointing as parents and the Keep Camden Local team campaigned so hard on this. Now Harris have a foothold in Sutton you can bet they're going to creep their way into other schools too. How they can take a decision that flies in the face if 99% of public opinion is staggering. ladyloki
  • Score: 10

10:15am Fri 16 Aug 13

bornfree1985 says...

Well what a waste of everyone's efforts trying to get Greenshaw a look in. Should have known the decision was already made the moment the name Harris came into play. Also rather annoyed that we had to find out from the press the outcome instead of via email as promised!!!!
Well what a waste of everyone's efforts trying to get Greenshaw a look in. Should have known the decision was already made the moment the name Harris came into play. Also rather annoyed that we had to find out from the press the outcome instead of via email as promised!!!! bornfree1985
  • Score: 6

1:22pm Fri 16 Aug 13

David7 says...

Harris appears to be becoming something of a monopoly. How can other organisations gain experience when the outcome is so predetermined, even when Harris told blatant fibs in its application?
Harris appears to be becoming something of a monopoly. How can other organisations gain experience when the outcome is so predetermined, even when Harris told blatant fibs in its application? David7
  • Score: 7

8:13pm Fri 16 Aug 13

Michael Pantlin says...

Harris? tweed off hearing about it.
Harris? tweed off hearing about it. Michael Pantlin
  • Score: 0

12:15pm Sun 18 Aug 13

LocalWriter says...

There's no mention on the Harris website of this takeover, and it's supposed to be happening next month?? That spokeswoman worries me.
"As a sponsor with a firm track record of establishing outstanding schools near to Camden, we have the plans, resources and expertise to make sure its children, now and in the future, get the excellent education they deserve."
There are no other Harris academies in Sutton, so what's she talking about? The one they've taken over up in Merton?
The school is being ripped apart, drilling has been going on non-stop for weeks, and it's supposed to re-open next month. I'm appalled that this allocation has taken place against the wishes of nearly all the parents and teachers. So much for local power in local hands!
There's no mention on the Harris website of this takeover, and it's supposed to be happening next month?? That spokeswoman worries me. "As a sponsor with a firm track record of establishing outstanding schools near to Camden, we have the plans, resources and expertise to make sure its children, now and in the future, get the excellent education they deserve." There are no other Harris academies in Sutton, so what's she talking about? The one they've taken over up in Merton? The school is being ripped apart, drilling has been going on non-stop for weeks, and it's supposed to re-open next month. I'm appalled that this allocation has taken place against the wishes of nearly all the parents and teachers. So much for local power in local hands! LocalWriter
  • Score: 2

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