Community Primary Schools

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 10th February 2014.

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Photo of Andy Slaughter Andy Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice) 2:30 pm, 10th February 2014

How many applications for academy status from community primary schools have been declined by his Department. [This section has been corrected on 28 February 2014, column 1MC — read correction]

Photo of Andy Slaughter Andy Slaughter Shadow Minister (Justice)

I thank the Secretary of State for that succinct answer. The reason I ask is that tonight Hammersmith and Fulham’s Conservative council is set to vote for the closure of Sulivan primary school in Fulham, which is rated in the top 2% in the country, in order to give its site to a free school. Sulivan’s last hope is the Secretary of State, so will he agree with the London Diocesan Board for Schools, which wants to take Sulivan into its family of schools as an academy, that it is

“unusual to close successful schools with growing rolls”,

and save Sulivan school?

Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education

I admire good local authorities, and Hammersmith and Fulham’s is one of the best, so the decisions it quite properly takes outside the hon. Gentleman’s constituency and in that of my hon. Friend Greg Hands I would entirely support. As for creating a free school in Hammersmith and Fulham, why should a former public schoolboy such as the hon. Gentleman, who benefited from the independence of a great school such as Latymer upper, wish to deny such high standards to others? Is it that the hypocrisy—forgive me, the double standards—of the Labour Front-Bench team now extends to the Back Benchers, too?