An MP has weighed in urging the government to U-turn on the future of an historic Greenwich School embroiled in a battle over its future.

It comes following an anti-academy silent protest outside The John Roan on May 14 that finished with a lobby at the Department of Education.


John Roan Resists has been campaigning against the “forced” academisation following a poor Ofsted report in June last year.

United Learning has been rumoured to take the school on following the withdrawal of the University Schools Trust in December.

On Wednesday, MP Matthew Pennycook wrote to the secretary of state for education urging him to revoke the academy order following an Ofsted follow up.

Pennycook said that Ofsted inspector Mrs Carter Fraser identified clear improvements despite the school going through what he called “considerable uncertainty”.

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In a letter since shared by John Roan Resists, the MP wrote: “No one should be under any illusion about the challenges The John Roan faces and Mrs Carter-Fraser’s letter makes plain there is still a need to deliver rapid and sustained improvement in a multiple of areas.

“However, I remain of the view that there are grounds to suggest that The John Roan could, with the continued support of the local authority and other external sources as required, deliver the rapid and sustained improvement in performance and educational standards that is required without changing the school’s structure.

“I would urge you to consider revoking the directive academy order to give Ms Smith [the school’s principle] and all those who are working to support the school the opportunity to make the improvements.”

Jon Coles, the Chief Executive of UL, said this week campaigners protesting outside its London offices have made him “determined” to take over The John Roan.

He tweeted on Tuesday: “Fifteen adults (including anti-academy campaigners from Barking) and six children on a bus, claiming to represent John Roan strikers and parents just stopped and shouted abuse outside our London office and were rude to our reception staff over the intercom.

“They claimed to have a letter to deliver but didn’t post one. As an example of a shambolic and back-firing campaign, this takes the biscuit. I’m now determined to bring the school into the group to sort out the damage these people have caused to children.”


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The 300-year-old school was told it was to be academised following a damning Ofsted report in June 2018– part of new Government policy that instructs failing schools to be taken over.

Academies are publicly funded schools that are not under a council’s control, and have more power over pay and curriculum. They are funded by the government, not the local authority.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition against the John Roan being academised.

No academy sponsor has yet been announced for the school.