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March 18, 2009



While it is no doubt distressing for parents who have yet to be offered a school place for their child in September, many of these children will get places over the next few weeks. They may not get their first choice school, but most will get an offer of a school in Hackney eventually.

The fact that many Hackney schools are hugely over-subscribed simply reflects the current admissions process, in which parents can apply for up to six schools. There is therefore a significant difference between the number of applications made and the number of children needing school places.

It is also worth remembering that less than a decade ago a number of Hackney schools struggled to fill their places every year. Many parents moved out of the Borough, or sent their children to private schools, or put them on buses and trains to state schools in other parts of London. Anything, in other words, rather than a secondary school in Hackney.

Now, thanks the the Learning Trust's policy of closing failing schools and opening new academies, there is a strong demand for Hackney schools. This is a local success story ... although not one that the local papers appear to understand.




As a 25 year in Hackney resident and a mother of two (both Hackney pupils) (where else does asn ordinary person send their child if they live here?) I totally agree with you about the past sad sad condition of secondary school provision in Hackney.

BUT you cannot speak so positively of "academies'. I don't mean to be rude but, "Do you know anything about them?". They are a new structure in education, 'lawless'. There is nobody to have to say over how/what pupils are taught apart from perhaps only one individual. Teachers have even less input into their own teaching than in these National Curriculum days. Parents view are just part of the billboards and the brochures. I would not champion 'league tables' and all that goes with them but it is significant that Academies are exempt from returning any figures. They are exempt from many things.

It is no coincidence that 'vunerable' boroughs in London, Hackney and Islington both have 'privatised' educational services (do you work for the Learning Trust? and I don't mean as a teacher). These two boroughs have been academied up. Some (not all) of their past decay has clearly been caused by the massive imbalance of class in these two borough's schools. The middle classes have been sending their kids elsewhere for several decades. No educational establishment can flourish and 'compete' with such imbalance, 15 years ago a lot of Hackney schools were dispiriting/dispirited (with a lot of excellent parts too -that comes from the pupils and teachers, no matter what).

This is serious. Parents and all need to look into the financing and administration, the 'terms and conditions' and the education provided by Academies.

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