Miliband school drops academy plan

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The Independent Online

Ed Miliband's former school has abandoned plans to become an academy.

The Labour leader and his brother, former foreign secretary David Miliband, both attended Haverstock School, a comprehensive in north London.

The school recently started a consultation to become an academy, which would take it out of local authority control.

But it is understood these plans have now been axed.

Alasdair Smith, national secretary of the Anti Academies Alliance, said: "The rejection of academy status at Haverstock School is an important victory.

"Haverstock School is a model comprehensive school with a fantastic record of meeting the needs and raising the attainment of a diverse local community."

Academies are semi-independent state schools that receive their funding directly and have more freedom over areas such as the curriculum and staff pay and conditions.

The academies programme was originally established under Tony Blair's Labour Government to boost standards in poorer areas.

But last year under the coalition Government, Education Secretary Michael Gove opened up the scheme to allow all schools to apply for academy freedoms.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Since introducing the Academies Act in July last year, 981 schools have chosen to become academies - taking the total number of open academies in England to 1,300."

She added: "We've always been clear that this is a permissive policy for good schools. The decision to convert rests with head teachers and school governing bodies."

A Camden council spokesman said: "While this is a matter entirely for the governing body of the school, we have not yet been formally notified that Haverstock School will no longer be considering the possibility of becoming an academy.

"Camden can rightly be proud of the success of our family of schools over many years and we have welcomed the open approach of the Haverstock governing body to their considerations in this matter. We hope to have a continued open dialogue in what appears to be a fast moving situation."

Source: PA