Anger over cuts to school places


[from Islington Gazette]

Anger over cuts to school places
30 April 2008

A HEADTEACHER has hit out at Islington Council for slashing the school places available due to fears new city academies will lure students away.

Education chiefs agreed to cut annual intake at Islington Arts and Media School (IAMS) in Turle Road, Finsbury Park, by 30 places to 150 pupils.

IAMS headteacher Richard Ewen, who was brought in as a trouble-shooting “super-head” in 2000, opposes the changes.

He said: “This school has pulled itself up and is now in the top 10 per cent of Islington schools. What message does it send and what confidence is there in schools in Islington? It can only be seen as a vote of no confidence.”

Councillor Ursula Woolley (Liberal Democrat), executive member for children, said: “The school has been undersubscribed for three years.

“A significant number of applicants to the school, 25 per cent, are Hackney residents. It is anticipated that the planned opening of two new academies in Hackney over the next two years will impact negatively on future applications to IAMS. I don’t think it will affect parents’ perceptions. IAMS’ Ofsted report was outstanding.”

While 15 per cent more children are being transferred from Islington primaries to secondaries than five years ago, the take-up by residents is less than the number of places available.

Education chiefs also say it is also partly because Islington children are being sent to their nearest school, which could be in Camden, Haringey, Hackney or even the City.

The council report also recommended the number of places be cut at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Penton Street, Islington, Ambler Primary School in Blackstock Road in Finsbury Park and Robert Blair Primary School in Brewery Road, Holloway.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson head Jo Dibb supports the move and has asked for the cut to be made permanent.

Robert Blair School has agreed to the change on condition it is temporary.


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