Author: Cyril Richert
A story on the Neighbourhood School Campaign for a secondary school in the area of Clapham Junction (possible site being the former Bolingbroke hospital) was published in the Evening Standard on Tuesday 4th. They said:
Firms including Cognita, set up by former Ofsted boss Chris Woodhead, have held talks with the parent campaigners about operating the school.
Shadow children’s secretary Michael Gove welcomed the news, describing the companies as “excellent education providers”. […]
Five education groups have been in contact with the Wandsworth campaign so far. Two are education charities that sponsor state-funded city academies in London, Ark and the Harris Federation. The three others are private and overseas school firms — Sweden’s International English Schools, WCL and Cognita. […]
Sources said Cognita was treating the Wandsworth project “seriously” but is waiting for the outcome of Thursday’s election before taking the plans any further.
For the Labour, Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, did also promise help and support for a new school for Battersea, as reported by Martin Linton, former MP for the area. Ed Balls, wrote to Wandsworth Council in March 2010 (PDF), to let them know he would try to help the council allocate some of the £300 million pounds it has for improving education in Battersea, towards a new school.
Now with Michael Gove acting as the new Schools Secretary, taking his brief in opposition with him into government, there is a chance to see a definite move and the possibility for the Conservatives council to work with the government to select a firm to operate the school. Cognita, which was waiting for the election result to see which team was in charge, should now be in a position to go ahead with their proposal.
As per comment from Kate Williams below: Cognita are no longer in the running to run the proposed school at the Bolingbroke. The selected education provider is Ark, a not-for-profits organisation who already run eight successful academies, 6 in London. If the school goes ahead, then Ark will appoint the teaching staff and run the school as an academy with direct funding from the government.