Councillors have railed against the “forced academisation” of schools, which they say is draining funds and going against parents’ wishes.

Enfield Council’s cabinet members on Wednesday (January 23) hit out at plans by Walker Primary School in Southgate to convert to academy status, warning taxpayers’ money was being spent on an organisation that would no longer be under local authority control.

Academies are directly funded by the Department for Education and are also allowed to raise money from sponsorship deals.

The Government offers financial incentives for schools to move away from local authority control and become academies.

Cabinet members’ comments came during a discussion on a £60 million scheme to boost fire safety measures in the borough’s schools.

Councillor Daniel Anderson, Enfield Council’s deputy leader, said: “Walker Primary School is in the fire safety report as a school rebuild.

“As people may be aware, the school has voted to become an academy – and yet here we are investing resources in something that will be lost to the local authority.

“It really hurts the gut when we know more of our facilities are being lost in this way yet there is nothing we can do to stop this.”

Cllr Anderson added it was a “crying shame” that taxpayers’ money was being “lost” into an organisation the council would have no control over.

Cllr Achilleas Georgiou, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “It is a real shame that Walker’s governors have gone against the will of the vast majority of parents to become an academy.”

He added that he had met with a group of parents who are planning to stand up to governors and urge them to re-think their decision.

Cllr Georgiou said: “There is still an opportunity for governors to pull back from going down the academy route.”

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan said “the agenda for forced academisation is not letting up” and pointed out that Galliard School in Edmonton was also planning to become an academy.

Cllr Caliskan said the decision was “not prompted or welcomed by local residents from my understanding, or from parents, and certainly not from the unions that represent the interests of staff that work there”.

She continued: “Every time a local authority school that is experiencing a deficit decides to academise it costs this local authority money – because their deficit stays with the local authority.

“Not only do we lose them from the local authority family, which fundamentally damages our communities, but it also costs this authority and other schools money.”

Cabinet members agreed the report’s recommendations to invest the £60 million – which is being provided from central government – to improve fire safety in the borough’s schools.