Penge Forum Academies Update

The extra Penge Forum meeting took place on Wednesday evening at the Congregational Church in the High Street. Mike Barnes, Asst Director of Education gave a brief introduction on academies and answered questions. Amongst the issues raised were the fact that there was little parental choice in this area as Harris has the monopoly on secondary school education and the lack of consultation over streaming in schools.


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This blog is maintained by Cllr Kathy Bance MBE, Cllr Peter Fookes and Cllr Kevin Brooks, the Labour Party councillors for Penge & Cator ward on Bromley Council.
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5 Responses to Penge Forum Academies Update

  1. John Murphy says:

    I’m slightly confused as you state it as a “fact” that having Harris schools in the area results in a lack of parental choice. What choice did parents have before – woeful schools failing their pupils, let down by the biggest local monopoly, Bromley Council, overlooked for funding and “teaching the children other schools don’t want to teach”

    Fantastic choice. Is it any wonder so many parents moved?

    Seeing as less than 10 people turned up to the meeting is this just an non-existant issue you are trying to stir up?


  2. This was a report on the meeting. If that was the issue people raised what are we supposed to do – censor the output. I am sure that many agree with you about the previous Bromley provision. That doesn’t alter the fact that the three schools which are closest to our ward of Penge & Cator are now all run by Harris. Reports suggest that the two new additions are doing well but it is still a fact. The number who attended is irrelevent. There are several issues which arise because of the new monopoly provider and residents have every right to raise them at a meeting organised by one of the few genuinely non-aligned community goups we have in Penge. We have nothing to stir up. We just wish to continue to support our local schools and represent our residents.


  3. Fiona Murphy says:

    The language you use in this report is biased. When you speak of Harris Federation you talk of a “monopoly” yet when you talk about Bromley Council you speak of the “provision”. Why do you not talk about Bromley Council in terms of a “monopoly” as that is what the council had?

    The second problem I have with this is the way the meeting was advertised. I do hesitate to bring it up as the numbers who attended the meeting (less than 10) do not probably justify dragging this out but the the fact remains misinformation is being put about. The organisers of The Penge Forum posted online and sent emails stating they would be discussing “entry levels for academies” This language is wrong and gives the impression of a Grammar school where children need to be at a certain level to apply.

    In fact the opposite is true and academies welcome applications from all abilties and fair banding is applied – there is no entry level. It was suggested to me by another local councilor that the misleading language was down to the fact that the organisers of the Penge Forum do not understand how academies work, this may be so but why did Mike Barns, highly paid council official not correct the misleading statements? He was the speaker at the meeting and surely the head of admissions at Bromley Council knows the basics on academies and would not have wanted his name linked to such misleading statements?


    • I think you’re being a bit oversensitive in your first comment. I take your point but does it make any difference? You do not need to assume this represents any criticism of Academies but people do look at them differently. Generally, the Penge & Cator councillors support entry by fair banding though it does seem to put extra pressure on parents. This may become an issue when it covers all schools in the area. I understand that all the questions that have been referred to did come from members of the audience, either at this meeting or the previous well attended meeting. I understand their reasons but perhaps it’s a shame that Harris chose not to attend the meeting. I (Cllr John Getgood) wasn’t at the meeting myself nor did I write the report. It seems to me that your other issues should be addressed to Penge Forum or to Mike Barnes.


  4. Fiona Murphy says:

    Cllr Getgood thanks for coming back to me. I very rarely agree with you on anything but I do seem to recall we broadly agreed fair banding was a good thing.
    I have no interest in taking up these issues with anyone else.
    I would praise you and your two Penge and Cator collegues on both this website and your twitter feed which I also follow, I only wish the Clockhouse councillors did something similar.


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