Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Minister Is Stripped of Power to Turn His Local School into City Academy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Minister Is Stripped of Power to Turn His Local School into City Academy

Article excerpt

Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

FRESH controversy engulfed the architect of the Government's f lagship city academies programme today.

Schools minister Lord Adonis, the driving force behind Tony Blair's pet education project, has been stripped of his power to decide whether to give the go-ahead for an academy near his Islington home amid claims of a conflict of interest.

Lord Adonis was plucked from his backroom role at No10 as the Prime Minister's education guru to run the academies programme from the heart of Whitehall when he was made a minister following the general election last May.

The National Union of Teachers said the drive to turn Islington Green School into an academy was "clearly Lord Adonis's baby" and he should have no influence on whether the multimillion-pound project went ahead.

The Department for Education and Skills denied there was any conflict of interest but admitted that another education minister would take the decision on Islington Green's future.

A spokesman for Lord Adonis said: "Islington Green was an existing academy project when Andrew Adonis became a minister, had been agreed in principle by previous ministers and a feasibility study was begun. This is ongoing-If and when the project comes to the point of signing a funding agreement - and agreeing the capital investment and recurrent budget of the academy - the decision will be passed to another minister in the department."

Ken Muller, chairman of Islington NUT, warned that the union was considering a High Court challenge to the academies programme in Islington.

"We have taken legal advice and are considering judicially reviewing some of the decisions that have been taken already," he said.

"Islington Green is clearly Lord Adonis's baby and he's got a clear conflict of interest. He should have nothing to do with the project. …

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