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Academy schools at the creation

When an evangelical Christian offered to start up an "academy" to replace a Doncaster comprehensive, teachers and parents revolted. But the government's academy revolution - state-funded schools run by private sponsors - is here to stay

By Andrew Brown   December 2004

Conisbrough, a small town west of Doncaster, is one of the poorest places in England. Since most of the pits closed 20 years ago it has known two generations of high unemployment. Few people own a car, there are not many shops and the police station has gone. In April this year, the local comprehensive, Northcliffe, slowly recovering after years of abject failure, was threatened with closure after an Ofsted report condemned it. Doncaster council wanted to replace it with an “academy”: a purpose-built school that would be mainly state-funded but privately run – in this case controlled by the…

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