Evelyn Grace Academy - new school in east Brixton

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by lang rabbie, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. lang rabbie

    lang rabbie Je ne regrette les gazebos

  2. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    No idea I'm afraid but crikey what an unattractive building. :eek:

    I'm a teacher and would really love to teach at a school in Brixton. Not just because it would mean an easy journey :)p ) but mainly because I'd like to work within the community in which I live. Unfortunately both this school, and the proposed new school on Brixton Hill, are being planned as academies. This is the privatisation of education by the back door and I wouldn't be prepared to work in one :(
  3. xsunnysuex

    xsunnysuex Life is a horizontal fall.

    I remember reading this a while ago. As far as I can remember it is called Evelyn Grace Academy by the man who put up most of the money for the school to be built. Can't remember his name. But Evelyn Grace is a mix of his mother and grandmothers name. I seem to remember there was a big objection to him naming it at the time.
  4. London_Calling

    London_Calling Pleasant and unpatronising

    It looks from that as if the sports choices are; the 100 metre sprint, the 100 metre sprint, or the 100 metre sprint.
  5. clandestino

    clandestino no llevar papel

    So what's the difference between an academy and a regular school?
  6. gaijingirl

    gaijingirl Well-Known Member

    This will be run by Ark Academies. I recently had an i/v with them for one of their other schools in London so had quite a long conversation with them about their involvement (in that particular school). They tend to come in and take over failing schools, or build schools in areas in need. You can look up the Ark website and read all about their "mission" which is not just about education but social inclusion in general. Academies can be quite controversial - usually because of where the money might be coming from and/or potential ulterior motives.

    The people I`ve met working for Ark (on the ground) seem very well intentioned and committed indeed - but politically I don`t exactly know how they stand as an organisation.
  7. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    Well, in brief:

    Academies are funded by public money but run (sponsored) by private organisations, usually businesses or charities. They are not democratically accountable and the sponsor dominates the governing body. They do not have to follow the national curriculum; this is not necessarily a problem (imo the national curriculum is too prescriptive) but it does open up very dangerous possibilities. For example the academies sponsored by the fundamentalist christian Sir Peter Vardy teach creationism over evolution http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,664608,00.html

    Academies are usually new-builds. It usually costs between 25 and 30 million pounds of public money to build these schools. The buildings and grounds are then handed over to the private organisation sponsoring the academy. The government has been bullying local authorities into setting up academies by refusing to give them any BSF (Building Schools for the Future) money unless this money is used to set up at least one academy in their borough.

    Teachers are usually employed under nationally agreed terms and conditions but the academies do not have to abide by these terms and conditions. In addition academies do not usually recognise unions. The governments own report by Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2005 said that the workload in academies is heavier than in normal schools.

    Academies can set their own admission policies so they are, in effect, selective. This can have a damaging effect on non-selective comprehensive state schools around them as the academies cream off the most able students. They also permanently exclude three times as many students as normal students which is selection by the back door. http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2147205,00.html

    And just for interest heres a story from the Guardian about an academy in Peterborough (built at a cost of 46.4 million) that's been built without a playground, where "pupils will be treated like employees of a corporation". http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2074528,00.html
  8. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    ARK is the charity arm of a hedge fund run by right-wing Christian Arpad Busson. Mr Busson famously had two children with Elle McPherson but wouldn't marry her because she was a divorcee.
  9. gaijingirl

    gaijingirl Well-Known Member

    Blimey! I have to say though - as dramatic as that sounds.. it didn`t appear to have the least bearing on the school I visited. Frankly from what I saw at that particular school - Mr Busson would have keeled over and had a heart attack if he`s that uptight... :D
  10. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    I'm sure that many of the people invloved in ARK are well meaning. And ARK do claim to be secular despite the right-wing leanings of Mr Busson. But I'm completely opposed to academies run by any organisation for the reasons outlined in my post above.
  11. gaijingirl

    gaijingirl Well-Known Member

    Well yes - I would (cautiously) agree in general.. I outlined similar reasons in my post too (above yours - albeit not in as much detail). However, I would reserve judgement on the actual day to day running of each individual school.  You might be interested to know that when I did my PGCE the overwhelming message from our lecturers, in particular from Clive Chitty who is one of the most inspirational speakers on education I`ve heard, was not one of support!
  12. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    I did my PGCE at the Institute of Education and I don't know of an academic there who's in favour of academies. No one in their right mind would be in favour of handing public assets over to an organisation that's not democratically accountable - that's clearly wrong.
  13. Bob

    Bob Rusesabagina for a nobel

    They don't really stand anywhere - they're basically a bunch of rich people who are trying to use business principles (including employing top educationalists) to improve education in inner cities.

    The precondition of being on the board of ARK is that you share the running costs of the organisation - I'd guess that this probably means several hundred thousand pounds a year. This means that the people who give money (city people) know that 100% of their cash goes to the frontline.

    They also fund HIV drugs in South Africa.

    And they're astonishing fundraisers - one of their dinners a few months back raised more money than any other dinner ever - £26m. Here's an article from the Guardian:

    My guess would be that the political affiliation of the people who run it goes across the spectrum.
  14. spanglechick

    spanglechick High Empress of Dressing Up

    thing is, beggars can't be choosers, and when push comes to shove and faced with unemployment, I've taken a job at an academy for september.

    tbh, in the day to day reality of things, it just seems like any other failing school that's been given a cash injection and name change.

    in terms of pay and conditions, I do five extra days staff training a year, and there are minimum hours i'm expected to be on site over and above the school day, but that's still well short of my usual teaching hours. On the plus side, i get £2000 academy allowance on top of my standard pay deal to compensate.

    the situation isn't ideal - i don't see any benefit in getting private buisness involved in education, and i shudder at the potential for influence from right wing / religious fundie groups (fortunately, our sponsor isn't too scary).

    Selection may be an issue for the future - for now, my school is undersubscribed still (it takes more than a name change to eradicate a poor reputation). But i have to say, personally, I welcome increased ability to exclude. The newest legislation now means that in general schools are going to find it very expensive and even more difficult to exlude even violent children.
  15. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    I completely understand why you’ve taken a job in an academy. I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad for working in one. It’s not just like any other school though. Most schools would do well if given a cash injection of 25 million or more (provided there isn’t a complete moron in charge :rolleyes: ). Why does the cash have to be given with strings attached? The answer is that academies are Tony Blair’s “legacy” – a public/private partnership that brings together business and education – and the government has committed to a target of 200 by 2010 and 200 thereafter. The fact that public/private partnerships, such as the tube, have been a complete and utter disaster doesn’t seem to bother them as they embark on the stealth privatization of health and education. Academies are not good value for money. The Price Waterhouse Cooper audit commissioned by the government showed that academies often do worse and at best only do as well as the schools they replace. That’s not much of a return for an investment of 25 million upwards per school, is it?

    Your pay and conditions may not be significantly different from those in state controlled schools at the moment. But, you aren’t protected by nationally agreed pay and conditions and that could all change. People who teach in academies (whether I agree with them or not) should be entitled to the same protection enjoyed by other colleagues in the teaching profession.

    Selection may not be an issue for your school but it is an issue for many academies and the state schools near them who are affected. I do agree that it shouldn’t be made more difficult for state schools to permanently exclude where necessary. The problem is that academies are excluding at a very high rate and state schools near to those academies are being forced by their local authorities to provide places for these extremely difficult students. Hence the state schools will end up with more and more disruptive students, are more likely to become failing schools, at which point, voila, a change of status to academy will be proposed and will start to look quite attractive, coming as it does with a large cash injection.

    I agree with you that business and education shouldn’t be mixed in this way. Schools cannot, and should not, be run as profit making institutions. We should be providing the best quality education possible for our children and the agenda for that should be set by educationalists and not business people.
  16. Bob

    Bob Rusesabagina for a nobel

    Just a factual thing - there's no profit made by the people running Ark (or any other academy). All that's different from a normal school money wise is that the sponsors cough up £2m and they get effective control of the board of governors. But the vast majority of the funding is still state provided and the people running them can't take anything out.
  17. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    OK, poor wording on my part. What I should have said is that I don't think business principles can be applied to education in this way. In the borough in which I work the academies that have opened so far are nothing less than disastrous. The most disadvantaged students in the borough (and across the country) are being subjected to an educational experiment that is failing them. There's very little that parents and staff can do about this as the organisations running these schools are not democratically accountable and the sponsor dominates the governing body.
  18. Bob

    Bob Rusesabagina for a nobel

    I agree with you on the principle that the people who pay (ie the taxpayers) should ultimately be in charge.

    Where I'm a bit more sceptical is the experimentation point. Every government experiments with different educational policies, some of which won't work. It seems to me that some experimentation is a good way of finding out what works and doesn't - the question is how you do it in a way that avoids disasters. It strikes me that quite a lot of inner city education is already a disaster so the question is whether the alternative is worse....
  19. Brixton Hatter

    Brixton Hatter Home is south London mate

    I still don't quite understand how they will fit a school on that tiny strip on land between Shakespeare Road and Loughborough Park....the artist's impression is obviously beyond my grasp!

    "Evelyn Grace" is a rubbish name though. And I didn't realise it would be an academy - that's disappointing. But then again, if you want anything new in your local area these days - be it schools (academies), housing (ALMOs) or whatever - you have to submit to the will of the private sector.

    According to the website, they are going to completely build it in one year! No work has started yet as far as I can see, yet it is due to open next September.
  20. gaijingirl

    gaijingirl Well-Known Member

    I think it`s opening in temporary accomodation whilst they build the school. They will probably just start with year 7 and build it up that way, so they won`t need the whole thing to begin with anyway. Most news schools do that now.. the one up in Tulse hill is doing that. Pimlico school is looking at being in temporary buildings for quite some time whilst they tear down the concrete building and rebuild a new school.
  21. brix

    brix spinster of this parish

    Actually at Pimlico the powers that be have decided to build the new school around the edge of the exisiting school (as they build new bits they'll knock down more of the exisiting buildings) and have students on site during the rebuilding process. Brilliant, eh? :rolleyes:

    And guess what.... it's going to become an academy :mad: At the moment potential sponsors include several private schools. Not because they're altruistic you understand, but because the laws on charities have changed and they now have to prove 'public benefit' in order to hang on to their charitable status. So you have the scandal of 25 million+ of public money being used to build a new school which is then likely to be handed over to a private school :eek: :mad:
  22. Mind

    Mind New Member

    I actually don't think this is a bad thing.
    It's not as if 25 million will be given to the Private School to do as it pleases with Pimlico School.
    That money has already been spent. The private school will actually be pouring more money into Pimlico and won't be taking anything out of it.

    I'd trust a private school to run a state one any day before a government that is filled with hypocrites like Diane Abbot and Harriet Harman -who both preached against private education and selection and yet sent their kids to private school and a selective grammar respectively.

    That is what really sickens me. These are MPs for Hackney and Peckham, two of the most deprived areas in the UK, so no chance of the kids there getting a nice grammar to save even just the top 10% who would be exceptionally bright and who shouldn't be forced to go to the sorts of schools that train you to get a job stacking shelves at Tesco.

    It is so offensive that someone like Harriet Harman, who went to the most expensive private girls school in the country and is from a privileged background (Niece of the Countess of Longford and from a land-owning, titled family) is representing a community like Peckham with a huge majority because people are afraid to vote anything but Labour.
  23. editor

    editor hiraethified

    The opening was just on the BBC news and it looks like it's going to be a strict school: the kids have to wear a 'proper' uniform, mobiles were banned at the gate and scruffy kids were sent home.

    Loved the bit in the BBC feature where they reported the school in glowing terms and then added that it looks to be a success "despite the area it's in".

    Cue camera spinning around to Southywck House and cue footage of rozzers smashing in doors from the drugs raid a few months ago.

    The Academy has its own website (and a rather odd logo) here: http://www.evelyngrace.org.uk/

  24. ShiftyBagLady

    ShiftyBagLady Thinks she is a flower to be looked at

    looks like the krypton factor logo. ahh i miss the krypton factor

    i will be interested to see how the school does because there is a lack of good secondary schools in brixton.
  25. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    isn't there none in the area at all until this year, new one being built on loughborough road and also in west norwood, at last.
  26. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    I wonder how they're going to square the ban on jewellery with this decision.

    And yes, in general terms best of luck to them - Brixton's children deserve a good local school.
  27. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I like their 'no-logo' take;

  28. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer

    ^^^ that was almost my school uniform when I went to secondary in 1991. We just had to wear blue clothes with no logo's, we didn't even have a set uniform. It worked well.
  29. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Yeah, a great leveller. It's the same in the school where I work. I've worked in schools with a laissez-faire attitude to uniform and it doesn't work well.
  30. editor

    editor hiraethified

    I hated having to wear a uniform when I was at school, but I think it works well, especially for a school in an area like Brixton (turns camera around to show the Barrier Block and rolls police footage again)....

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