Portsmouth City Council leader adds voice to fight against academies

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council will be speaking out against academies at a public meeting later this month.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson will oppose the coalition government’s drive to see all state schools sever links with their local education authorities.

Portsmouth already has one academy – Charter in Somers Town, which replaced the failing St Luke’s in 2009 – and could get a second as early as September if Miltoncross is given the go-ahead.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘My worry with academies is they break the link between local people and local schools.

‘I also worry big business will come in to take over our schools and the evidence shows academies tend not to play by the rules.

‘But I’m also clear that pretending everything in all our schools is okay isn’t right either – our schools could perform a lot better.’

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said short of convincing schools to remain with the state, he would like to find one or two academy providers who were ‘less bad’ than the rest and had an ethos that fits in this city.

He said: ‘We need to protect Portsmouth children from those very strange providers such as the evangelical ones who are convinced for example that the earth is flat.’

The meeting at Portsmouth’s central library on May 19 runs from 7pm until 9pm.