This week I visited Oldham, a town with its own history of ethnic and religious tension, to find a refreshingly different attitude to academies and divisiveness.

Oldham has new academies which have been formed by taking schools with predominantly Asian-heritage children and merging them in a new academy with schools with predominantly indigenous children.

It is early days, but they are already seeing success, particularly in sport.

Our leaders in Blackburn seem opposed to all academy development because it removes schools from their control. As a result, only the powerful and well-organised schools are able to force the academy change through, and academies will therefore tend to increase ethnic and religious difference.

By contrast, Oldham seems to have taken a more enlightened view, and is using the academy movement to put some strong community cohesion foundations down.

Blackburn was proud of its record in community cohesion; it now needs to look to its laurels, by being more flexible in its attitude.

Nick Kennedy (via email).