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MP hits out at 'assault' on academies programme

Published: 22 Apr 2012 08:00

READING East MP Rob Wilson has hit out at his Labour colleagues for an "outdated left-wing assault on the Academies programme".

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Mr Wilson this week called for education secretary Michael Gove to "condemn" Reading Borough Council for its anti-academies policy at a session of Education Questions in the House of Commons.

He asked Mr Gove to reaffirm the Government's commitment to "putting children first rather than party political dogma", and said: "Their opposition is based on out-dated left wing dogma, putting party politics first, and pupils' educational chances second. They need to listen to the progressive voices in their party such as Lord Adonis and Tony Blair, who both support academies.

"The Academies programme has huge potential to drive up standards and should be supported by those who purport to lead the council, not denigrated and attacked by Labour councillors who should know better."

Last month, The Chronicle reported exclusively that Reading's education leader, Cllr John Ennis, had attacked plans to "privatise" schools, saying setting up more academies will "create the most centralised education system ever in this country or any other."

He added: "We are proud of the work we have done in partnership with headteachers, teachers, governors, parents, pupils and the wider community to drive up education standards in Reading - our schools are getting their best results ever.

"Of course we know there are some schools where progress has not been as fast as it should and we are committed to working with those schools to get it right."

Academies in Reading include John Madejski Academy and Prospect School - which was once deemed ineffective by Ofsted but leaped up to a 'good' rating in January last year.

But Mr Gove said: "More than half of secondary schools are academies or on route to becoming academies. Those who attack the academies programme are attacking the majority of state schools in this country.

"That is why it is such a pity there are people in the Labour party who are enemies of state education, when there are so many great head teachers who are taking advantage of academy freedoms to raise standards for all."

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