Deptford says no to Tidemill becoming an academy

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Summary of the views expressed by the Children and Young People Select Committee

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Summary of the views expressed by the Children and Young People Select Committee in response to the consultation concerning Tidemill School  becoming an academy

Background

The Children and Young People Select Committee perform the overview and scrutiny functions in relation to services provided to those under the age of 19 years of age within the London Borough of Lewisham.

At the meeting of the 20 October 2010 the Children and Young People Select Committee was consulted on proposals for Tidemill School to convert to academy status.

The views of the Committee will be included within the overall Lewisham Council response to the Tidemill consultation.  The information set out below is a summary of the Committee’s view.

When considering its response, the Committee carefully considered how any transfer would potentially impact upon various groups, including the:

    • Students;
    • Parents/Carers;
    • Staff;
    • School;
    • Local Community;
    • Local authority.

 

After discussion, the Committee agreed the following response:

Educational Quality

The Committee agree that the quality of education provided by the school is currently of a very high standard.  The Committee could identify no clear reasons why a change in current arrangements will substantially benefit the students at the school.

Cost

The Committee feel it could be difficult for the school, if it were to become an academy, to utilise the same level of cost effective wider support services on their own as those they currently deliver with the support of the local authority. In particular, the current economic circumstances place renewed pressure on all parties to ensure that all public spending within Lewisham is used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Community

Tidemill school is an important part of the local community, working closely with hard to reach groups and implementing an admissions criteria that ensures the majority of students are drawn from the local area. The Committee is concerned that a transfer to academy status could potentially disrupt the school’s strong links with the local community.

Support

The Committee feels that, in order to ensure the success of any potential transfer, there would need to be broad support from within and outside the school. The Committee saw no evidence that this was currently the case.

Consultation Process

The Committee believes that if the school were to transfer to academy status this needed to be done on the basis of a strong and clear consultation process.  The Committee was not certain that all impacted groups felt fully engaged with the consultation process.

Deptford Lounge

The Committee is concerned about the successful delivery of the Deptford Lounge project, if Tidemill were to become an academy.  This includes concern about the potential high costs that would be incurred by both the local authority and school in restructuring the project, including the complex practical and legal arrangements that would need to be instituted.

Conclusion

Taking into account all those areas discussed and outlined above, the Committee does not feel there is currently sufficient evidence to conclude that it would be in the best interests of local children, families and the wider community for Tidemill School to become an academy.

The Committee noted that if after examining the consultation evidence the governing body believed it was the appropriate decision to transfer to academy status, then the Committee would fully support the continuation of positive and active relations between the school, community and Lewisham Council. The Committee feel that the arrangements and nature of the relationships developed between Lewisham Council and those academies currently residing within the borough would be positive examples to follow.

 

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