Parents fight plans to turn Camden Junior School into Harris Academy
Parents are fighting plans for a primary school in special measures to become a Harris academy.
Camden Junior School, in Carshalton, has been told by the Department for Education it must become an academy - with the preferred sponsor being the Harris Federation.
However, Sutton Council, MP Tom Brake and multiple parents are backing local Greenshaw High School, also an academy, as the preferred sponsor for Camden.
A consultation is currently taking place on the proposals to become an academy.
The Harris Federation is a charity with a record of improving struggling schools in London however campaigners are concerned it would be damaging to the school.
When Camden Juniors was put in to special measures the headteacher of Victor Seymour Infants School, Helen Matt, took over Camden.
After seeing the improvements she has brought in many parents want her to continue and fear that if the Harris Federation took over she would be lost.
The Harris Federation has already advertised for a new headteacher at the school, closing applications for the £65,000-£100,000 job on May 10, in order to make sure they have a headteacher in time if they are chosen as the sponsor.
The advert says that if the school does not become a Harris Academy the successful candidate will still be employed by the school.
Mike Cooper the chair of governors at Greenshaw, said: "Greenshaw can provide the support that Camden needs and keep the school in local hands.
"We urge Camden parents and all other interested people to tell the Department for Education that they are opposed to the proposal from the Harris Federation and that their preference is that Greenshaw should be the sponsor of Camden Juniors."
Sir Robin Bosher, who leads primary education for the Harris Federation, said: "We agreed to the Department for Education's request that we become their preferred sponsor of Camden because we believe we can provide it with the support needed for teaching, pastoral care and the school as a whole to become good and then outstanding.
"We know that staff at Camden Junior School have worked hard under challenging circumstances, and we look forward to supporting them if the school becomes a Harris Academy."
Councillor Dave Callaghan, chair of Sutton Council’s children, family and education committee, said: "We have been lobbying the Government to select Greenshaw, and we will continue to do so."
Parents of children at Camden Junior School have set up a an online group, Go For Greenshaw on Facebook.
Written representations to the Department for Education should be sent to the school office at Camden Junior School, Camden Road, Carshalton before the end of the consultation on July 19.
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