Brixton school campaign wins Mandela's backing

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The Independent Online

Nelson Mandela is backing a campaign to set up Britain's first City Academy to be sponsored by parents.

The former South African president has lent his support to a move by parents to open a new secondary school as part of the Government's flagship City Academy programme in Brixton, south London.

More than 1,000 parents in the area have signed a petition to Tony Blair demanding a new school.

Two of the secondary schools that served the area have closed in the past decade, and parents say their children now face a journey of at least an hour to and from the nearest remaining secondary school. To make matters worse, most of the neighbouring secondary schools are oversubscribed.

Many of the parents who are supporting the campaign now have children at the award-winning Sudbourne primary school - selected by the Prime Minister for his first school visit on being elected in 1997 because of its outstanding national curriculum test results.