A headteacher has hit back over claims his school is to be closed because of failing results, as part of Croydon's school shake-up.

John Troake, of Haling Manor school in south Croydon, defended the school and said any plans to amalgamate it with Westwood Language College for Girls, in Upper Norwood, would not improve results.

The formation of an academy to replace the two schools is part of Croydon Council's £350m review of secondary education in the borough that will affect every secondary school.

Despite only 18 per cent of students achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE in 2007, Mr Troake denied his school was failing.

He pointed to the most recent contextual value added (CVA) results, which show the improvement of students from starting to leaving school, which placed Haling Manor in the top 6 per cent in the country.

He said: "When you look at it in terms of other schools, none of the schools are failing.

"It's a very damning thing when you say a school is failing and going to close.

"We've just been given two awards for most improved specific music college. But the Government and local authorities don't take these into consideration."

And Mr Troake believed academies were not the way forward.

He added: "I think, in broad terms, academies are not the answer. If you take kids from different schools into an academy there is not a significant change. I doubt academies could cope with the range of pupils we have."

The Haling Manor headteacher said the problems in the borough stemmed from a large proportion of selective entry schools, despite each school being looked at equally in the eyes of the authorities.

The worry was that a new academy, earmarked for north Croydon, would result in even less choice for parents in the south, because the only schools left would both be faith schools.

Mr Troake said: "The danger is children missing out and falling between two or three schools."

He has received letters from several parents lending their support to the school, with praise about its small but caring nature.

The proposals were officially unveiled by Croydon Council on Monday, June 2, and will be subject to discussion and public consultation over the coming months.