Major education consultation launched
Hackney Council has launched a major education consultation aimed at shaping the future of the borough’s schools.
Over the past 15 years, Hackney’s schools have changed beyond recognition, transforming the educational opportunities for children in Hackney. The boroughs’ schools were once the worst in the country, now we have some of the very best.
However, changes to funding and Government policy, as well as rapid population growth, mean that our schools now face major challenges and, through Hackney: Schools For Everyone, the Council wants to find out what residents think of the current education system in Hackney, and what they would like it to look like in the future.
In particular, we want to find out what residents think about forced academisation, the Council’s role in Hackney’s schools, selection based on academic results and the role of parent governors.
A questionnaire is being delivered to every home in the borough and a series of events are planned for the coming months.
The Council carried out a similar consultation in 2003, and residents responded that they wanted non-selective, non-denominational, mixed-sex comprehensives. This feedback has helped to shape the sort of the schools that have opened and flourished in the borough. With such significant changes to the education system on the horizon, the Council thinks it is important to have that conversation again.
We are incredibly proud of what’s been achieved in Hackney over the last 15 years, and we want to ensure that these improvements continue. However, the education sector is facing huge challenges; the Government has a very clear agenda for schools, which would mean less local accountability and the Council playing less of a role in supporting schools. The Government also supports the reintroduction of grammar schools, which could mean school admissions based on academic achievement.
We are opposed to these measures, which we think will undermine years of hard work by the Council, our schools, and pupils. We don’t want to see selection in Hackney schools, we want to maintain a close relationship with our community of schools and to continue to play a vital role in school improvement – and whilst we believe our views are echoed by many residents, we want to hear what local people think. This will help us lobby government on behalf of our residents and will influence the choices we make when planning new schools.
With so many changes being forced upon our schools, now is the right time to speak to parents, teachers and governors about the sort of education system they want in Hackney. The feedback we gather will help us to understand how people feel about the Governments’ education policies and how they want the Council to respond to them, so I’d urge everyone to take part and help to influence the future of education in our borough.