Local Labour Party Continues Call For The Beleaguered School To Return To Public Hands
SATURDAY, 2nd FEBRUARY – Last week, Tilgate’s struggling academy school Thomas Bennett Community College was officially marked down by the Department for Education as one of 382 secondary schools failing to meet the government’s minimum standard.
Mismanagement and repeated cuts handed down by The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) are likely to have contributed to the assessment result.
Crawley’s Labour Party continues its call for the school to be returned to public hands at the first opportunity, a demand that has become increasingly popular among Crawley residents as well as teachers, pupils and parents.
With the full support of Crawley Labour, hundreds of Crawley residents marched through the town centre last summer in protest of a series of cuts planned by TKAT. It became the largest protest the town had seen in decades.
To date, thousands of concerned members of the public have signed different petitions calling for the return of Thomas Bennett to local authority control and for the school to be properly funded. Crawley Labour wholeheartedly endorses both aims.
Council Leader Peter Lamb said: ‘Thomas Bennett was once one of the best value added schools in West Sussex, it’s a very sad day to see how far it has fallen since academisation. No parent in Crawley should be forced to send their child to a failing school. The public must now be given back control over Thomas Bennett, to make the school accountable to the community once more.’
Ms. Kiran Khan is a former Thomas Bennett pupil who worked on the Save Thomas Bennett Campaign, and is now standing to be Labour Borough Councillor for Tilgate in May’s local elections.
Kiran Khan said: ‘Thomas Bennett Community College was widely recognised as a good school before it became an academy. So many parents, teachers and former pupils have spoken to me about their fond memories of the school. If we want to turn back the clock to better days, returning the school to local authority control is how to do it.’
3,297 schools and academies in England are subject to the government’s standard, a performance threshold with a particular focus on English and Maths. Thomas Bennett is one of 382 schools to have failed to achieve sufficient progress.
Crawley Labour says the answer to the disastrous academisation of Thomas Bennett is to return the school to public control, so that its management is directly answerable to Crawley’s voters.