Please note this post is from my previous blog. To read my posts during the 2017 General Election campaign click here.
I’m delighted that in his education speech today, the Prime Minister announced Stationers’ Academy Greenwich Peninsula as one of 49 new Free Schools set to open in September 2016.
The secondary school – part of the Leigh Academies Trust – will be a ‘sister’ school to the highly successful and Crown Woods Academy in Eltham. The school will focus on business and digital enterprise, to tie into the growing digital economy on the Peninsula – and follows the extremely popular and over-subscribed Greenwich Free School as the second to be approved in our borough.
The news is especially welcome given the events of February’s council meeting, at which Labour cabinet membeer Danny Thorpe admitted that the council was ‘struggling’ to provide enough places for all 11 year olds this September. Greenwich is facing a serious secondary school places shortage, as the graph below (taken from this council scrutiny report) shows in stark detail – and the new Greenwich Peninsula Academy will provide much-needed extra capacity at secondary level when it opens in 2016.
Today’s news of an additional 49 Free School approvals – as well as the Prime Minister’s pledge to create a further 500 if the Conservatives win May’s General Election – move us a further step closer to an education system that will give all young people the best possible chance to succeed. Standards are also improving – since 2010, 5,525 more children in Greenwich & Woolwich now attend schools rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. This is a real testament to the hard work of local teachers and the impact of Michael Gove’s education reforms.
The Labour Party, of course, remains implacably opposed to the idea of any school lying outside of local authorities’ command-and-control mindset.
The question remains – what would happen to Greenwich Peninsula Academy and Greenwich Free School under a Labour government? 59 days to make sure we don’t find out…