Freedom, yes, but only if you become an academy


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The Independent Online

Let me put it bluntly. It just seems plain wrong to be closing a school rated good with outstanding features by inspectors.

Especially so since David Cameron has just made it clear while talking to students on Monday that the Government is no longer prepared to "put up" with schools that constantly fail.

He was talking about under-performing primary schools.

He obviously did not have schools like Harrowden in mind when he said that, yet it is to close.

In future, local authorities may have limited options when it comes to school closures as more and more schools become academies – a potential problem raised by the Harrowden situation.

In this case, Bedford Borough Council supports the new academy on Harrowden's doorstep but admits in its response to The Independent that its very existence (and the £22.5m to be spent on it) made keeping Harrowden open a more difficult option.

The mere fact it was encroaching on Harrowden's territory by taking 11- to 13-year-olds put the two on a collision course with each other.

Of course, supporters of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, in his drive for academies might well argue that the school should have become an academy itself – and there lies the rub.

Surely giving schools more freedom should include the freedom not to become an academy as well as to become one?

After all, if you are successful in what you are doing as a local authority-supported school, you should be respected for what you have achieved. Why should you have to change?

Or am I just being a little old-fashioned?