Parents of Barnsley children and others interested in their education should be outraged at the Government’s decision to force all schools to become academies.
Clearly Nicky Morgan is unfit to be Secretary of State for Education, but there is little if no evidence she can present that demonstrates the validity of the academy model as a vehicle for school improvement.
Indeed, the Education Select Committee said that ‘there is at present no convincing evidence of the impact of academy status on attainment in primary schools’.
Here in Barnsley, however, the problem is two-fold; senior local politicians are also driving the push towards academisation, have been for some time, meaning there stands little between the eventual total demise of the local education authority, (LA), and the loss of all democratically controlled schools in the borough.
Yet academies in England are outperformed in all aspects of pupil achievement by LA-controlled schools, most of which are already judged by OFSTED as good or outstanding.
So as parents are to be locked out of a say in how their schools are run, who stands to gain?
Replacing the LA comes a complex labyrinth of individuals, trusts, charities and others.
Many individuals involved in academies may have children’s interests at heart, but this rush to privatise the entire education system means opportunity for privateers – ‘one academy head teacher notched up a salary of £390,000 in one year; he was the sole director of a dating website, a health club and accommodation business on the school site; the National Audit Office found that the head’s own firm was paid £508,000 in management fees over three years’, (Guardian 20.03.16). Surely these monies belonged to the children of that school?
Parents nationwide are creating a wall of opposition to this move.
I hope parents in Barnsley will join in – bombard Sir Stephen Houghton, Councillor Cheetham and your local councillor with your voice of opposition via letters, emails and surgery visits.
Initiate demonstrations and protest at your school if and when the threat looms.
The NUT will support such moves, as I’m sure will other trade unions that have children’s interests at heart. Challenge this ideologically driven, ill-thought through Tory blunder of the highest order. Your children’s future is at stake.
Secretary Barnsley NUT