Battersea Park School to become an academy next September

Wandsworth Guardian: Head teacher Gale Keller with teachers Head teacher Gale Keller with teachers

A school placed in special measures in summer is being transformed into an academy.

Battersea Park School, in Battersea Park Road, Battersea, will become a Harris Academy next September.

The move has caused upset within the school's management team, with school governors resigning over the decision.

The chair of governors has resigned, as well as Latchmere ward councillor, Councillor Tony Belton.

Headteacher Gale Keller will also retire in the new year, as well as a number of teachers who are leaving for new positions.

Coun Belton said he decided to quit when he was told he must vote for the school to become an academy.

He said: "I said you have got to be joking, no way am I going to vote the way someone has told me to vote. I am walking out.

"After Battersea Park School goes how many local authority schools are left in the borough? How can you have responsibility when you are not running the school?

"Under academies, local authority interest is being taken away from us."

He said during a meeting in November school governors were informed they will continue running the school until Harris Federation take over in September 2014.

Mr Keller, who has worked at the school for 13 years, said: "My own position is that I am 64 and a half years old.

"I have made a decision to leave Battersea, I feel it is the right time on the basis a new academy chain will come in and it will be a new direction."

A spokesperson for the Harris Federation said: "The Harris Federation is a not-for-profit charity with almost 25 years' experience of running schools in London.

"Many of our academies replaced struggling schools, which are now happy and highly successful with an average of nine applications for every place."

Government legislation makes it obligatory for all schools in special measures to become academies.

The school was seeking legal advice after it was marked as inadequate and made an official complaint to Ofsted.

Last year it was named as one of the worst performing in London, but this summer recorded a record 14 per cent increase in pupils achieving five A*-C grades.

 

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Comments (2)

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2:44pm Thu 19 Dec 13

janee says...

It seems clear that Ofsted is being used as a political tool of Mr Gove in order to force schools to become academies, which have absolutely no democratically elected oversight. In the 2012 GCSE Results 40 Academies scored lower than Battersea Park. In 2013 the results for BPS bounced back. Students and parents I speak to are very complimentary about Mr Keller and his staff.

There are several problems with the takeover of Harris: 1) Harris is expanding rapidly. When other academy chains have done this they have started failing schools. 2) Harris is geographically spread, so will not be responsive to local needs or the local community. 3) One assumes that the uniform will be changed at a huge waste of money. 4) There has been no consultation about this - this is being forced on Battersea by Mr Gove in Westminster - the man who claims to listen to parents. Well he hasn't been prepared to listen to Battersea parents.
It seems clear that Ofsted is being used as a political tool of Mr Gove in order to force schools to become academies, which have absolutely no democratically elected oversight. In the 2012 GCSE Results 40 Academies scored lower than Battersea Park. In 2013 the results for BPS bounced back. Students and parents I speak to are very complimentary about Mr Keller and his staff. There are several problems with the takeover of Harris: 1) Harris is expanding rapidly. When other academy chains have done this they have started failing schools. 2) Harris is geographically spread, so will not be responsive to local needs or the local community. 3) One assumes that the uniform will be changed at a huge waste of money. 4) There has been no consultation about this - this is being forced on Battersea by Mr Gove in Westminster - the man who claims to listen to parents. Well he hasn't been prepared to listen to Battersea parents. janee

5:24pm Thu 19 Dec 13

QPR4Me says...

Ofsted are the sole excuse for this happening. I happened to be at the school on the day that they turned up. It was clear by their condescending attitude that they knew best and they were going to carry out their mission without regard to the feelings of the pupils and the staff.
The fact that this school was placed in special measures, yet recorded an increase in successful exam results in the order of 14 percent on the previous year, when the school was judged to be good, makes it clear that a witch hunt was carried out, with the sole intent for forcing this school down the academy route.
Before Mr Keller took over the running of the school, I would've been scared to put a dog in there. After meeting Mr Keller and listening to his aims for the school and the fact that my daughter liked him and the staff, we chose to send her there. She is now doing A levels having passed 11 GCSEs at A*, A and B grades. Her younger sister is doing her GCSEs at Battersea Park School and looks set to do equally as well.
Ofsted, and those responsible for this, should feel ashamed of their actions. I, personally, wish to thank Mr Keller and his staff for all that they have done.
Ofsted are the sole excuse for this happening. I happened to be at the school on the day that they turned up. It was clear by their condescending attitude that they knew best and they were going to carry out their mission without regard to the feelings of the pupils and the staff. The fact that this school was placed in special measures, yet recorded an increase in successful exam results in the order of 14 percent on the previous year, when the school was judged to be good, makes it clear that a witch hunt was carried out, with the sole intent for forcing this school down the academy route. Before Mr Keller took over the running of the school, I would've been scared to put a dog in there. After meeting Mr Keller and listening to his aims for the school and the fact that my daughter liked him and the staff, we chose to send her there. She is now doing A levels having passed 11 GCSEs at A*, A and B grades. Her younger sister is doing her GCSEs at Battersea Park School and looks set to do equally as well. Ofsted, and those responsible for this, should feel ashamed of their actions. I, personally, wish to thank Mr Keller and his staff for all that they have done. QPR4Me

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