Published: 18 May, 2012
• IT is difficult to believe that The Bridge School, in Hungerford Road, Holloway, which is a school for children with special needs, is seeking to apply for academy status.
To move outside Islington local authority framework – and hence the community it serves – would mean destabilising the structures and institutions supporting the most vulnerable children in our community.
It would inevitably mean a distancing from other Islington schools and from the special needs administration within the education authority, both in Islington and Camden.
It is our understanding that the intention is not to change the school’s commitment to serving the special needs children of Islington and to supporting other mainstream schools in their provision for statemented pupils, but we consider that the move would seriously jeopardise the ability to carry this out.
A move to academy status does not guarantee that future generations of heads and governors will maintain that commitment, and that is a matter of serious concern for all of us.
Most serious for us is that it would remove the school from any local political accountability as it would no longer come under the jurisdiction of the local authority.
Support for the governor structure is provided by the education authority and is essential to enable governors
to oversee the performance of the school. The governors will only be distanced from governors of other schools.
The extent to which the school shares physical facilities and utility provision with Hungerford School is another reason to object to such a move, as well as the mixing of pupils between the schools, the teaching of The Bridge pupils in Hungerford School and the easy transfer of The Bridge pupils to Hungerford School if it is felt they are ready for mainstream education.
The kitchens and playground are shared and mains services to either school may run under either or both. If this proceeded, it would be necessary to have formal legal agreements between The Bridge and Islington Council to secure their respective interests.
All those within the community should oppose this move, which would mean the school becoming an island with no “Bridge” to the community.
Freegrove Road, N7