Academies – state-funded schools run by non-state “sponsors” – are claimed by the government to be popular with parents. So popular, in fact, that they want to massively expand the programme. But while the London Academy in Barnet is over capacity, academies in Southwark and Peckham are 19% unfilled and the Greig City Academy in Haringey is undersubscribed by a whopping 31%.
A lot of these gaps could have a lot to do with academies often being created to replace failing schools, and parents not being able to shake the associations. The Tories (who also love academies) point to a weird way of calculating capacity – something to do with floor space, apparently – and say the figures are misrepresentative. But when a third of London children don’t get their first choice of secondary school, how on earth can there be so many places sitting empty?