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April 22, 2006

Confidence in city academies

Letters to the Editor

April 22, 2006

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,59-2145388,00.htm



Sir, We are responsible for nine open city academies and the creation of a further 27. We are developing groups of academies and therefore require continuing financial sponsorship, often as a result of fundraising programmes. The recent reports suggesting that the programme may be damaged by a lack of sponsors in the future do not reflect the position.

We are deeply committed to the programme in which we and our organisations have all voluntarily become engaged. Nobody has required us to do it. We have been motivated by a strong desire to help some of the most disadvantaged children in the country. We are creating academies to help to raise confidence and attainment in some of the most deprived and needy areas.

We welcome the opportunity to use our business skills and international experience in such a worthwhile enterprise. We have put our reputations, experience and commitment behind an education policy which is beginning to transform lives. The academies programme builds on the city technology colleges created over a decade ago, which were attacked in their early days but which are now almost universally regarded as a success, on their own and as beacons in their communities. We will continue to develop new academies and to support our existing ones despite the sniping at the edges, which is trying to denigrate this programme.

Concerns about academies are being eliminated by the experience of new schools and new approaches. Our battle is not being fought in newspapers, on radio or television; but is being won in classrooms. Success takes time but we are seeing encouraging signs from Ofsted reports.

Our commitment remains strong and we are confident that we will continue to find others who wish to join us in one of the most exciting educational enterprises ever implemented in this country.

REV STEVE CHALKE Founder Oasis Trust

SIR EWAN HARPER Chief Executive, United Learning Trust

LORD HARRIS OF PECKHAM

LUCY HELLER Managing Director, Ark Education

SIR KEVIN SATCHWELL Headmaster Thomas Telford School

SIR PETER VARDY Chairman Emmanuel Schools Foundation



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