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Hundreds back Kelsey Park becoming academy

Kelsey Park Sports College

Kelsey Park Sports College

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MORE than 750 people have signed a petition calling for a consultation into turning an 'under-performing' school in to an academy.

Bromley council has now been forced to look again at letting Harris Federation of Academies take over Kelsey Park Sports College, in Manor Way, Beckenham.

In 2009 the Department of Education met with the council to consider it becoming part of Harris which runs 20 schools in south London but the council opposed the move, preferring several sponsors including itself to maintain it.

Education Secretary Michael Gove supports the move towards an academy, yet campaigners claim the council has so far been reluctant for it to go ahead.

Harris Academies chief executive Dr Dan Moynihan mentioned the petition during his speech at the Conservative Party conference on Monday where he had been invited as a guest.

He said: “The lobby against the academies programme and free schools argue that they don’t want an end to bog-standard comprehensives.

“Well I do. The parents at our academies do. Just last week a petition of 750 local parents wrote to Michael Gove urging him to help them have a Harris Academy in their borough.

Mother-of-two Fiona Murphy, 39, has headed up the campaign and said the consultation, announced last Thursday was a “step forward”.

But the campaigners have also submitted an application for a so-called free school, to be run by Harris, which is being fast tracked by the Department of Schools and Education. It will focus on science and have links with Kings College London, listed in the world’s top 25 universities.

Mrs Murphy said: “We just want the school to be better for the future of our children.”

Bromley council said the consultation would discuss whether it should be co-educational or single sex, whether to use pupil banding and sponsorship and the nature of its management.

Parents and interested parties will be sent letters in the coming weeks as to how to express their views and the findings will be available in December.

Bromley councillor for children and young people Ernest Noad, said: “The decision to consult widely on the school’s next stages of development is a very proactive, welcome and fair way for everyone interested to have their say about a matter which is so close to the heart of parents and prospective parents alike.”

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