Letter: Have your say on Crawley academy plan

Your views
Your views

People often ask me why it’s a problem if a school becomes an academy, so here is my answer:

An academy school takes funding away from local authority schools. If a school in Crawley converts to an academy it has a direct impact on all other schools in the county council’s care, both in this town and the rest of West Sussex. This seems unbelievable but it is true.

When a school becomes an academy it leaves the care and supervision of the local authority for good. The county council won’t rebuild it if it burns down, or control who it employs or advise how it supports the different needs of its pupils. The Secretary of State has the power to close the school at any time without providing alternative places for its pupils at other schools. This wouldn’t happen to a local authority school. Academy schools can select and refuse to take children if they wish.

Only outstanding schools can apply to convert to become an academy, so for every one that does so, the schools that remain in the local authority (perhaps your child or grandchild’s school?), have to manage on reduced funds, reduced expertise and reduced resources. The more academy schools there are, the bigger the gap becomes between successful schools and struggling schools will grow and this is unfair.

For successful schools the benefits of becoming an academy are essentially financial, but if they have been judged by Ofsted as outstanding they don’t need to convert to improve the quality of the education they provide, the Ofsted judgement shows they’re already capable of doing it and doing it very well.

Everyone in Crawley has the right to comment on the proposed conversion of any school in the town. Pound Hill Infants is a school currently proposing to make the unfair decision to promote its own interests above those of every other child in the town and the rest of West Sussex. If you agree that this is unacceptable and unnecessarily adding to divisions between Crawley neighbourhoods, you can have your say before the end of the week. You can write to or visit the school to give them your views, or complete the online questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9JQG2HW.

Chloe Berrisford, Pound Hill