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No forced academies, say parents and teachers

Education is the latest area of concern, symptomatic of the government’s recent ill-thought, unworkable and heavy-handed policies and plans, causing public anger!

Parents, teachers and even the Tory councillors are concerned about the plans to turn every state school in England into an academy – for example, on 23 March 2016, there were big protests against the government’s academy plans – the biggest was in London - video.

Out of many opposing the academy plans, Melinda Tilley, the councillor responsible for education in David Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency, has called the academy policy to be reversed, denouncing it as the "diktats from above".

Academies are independent, state-funded schools, which receive their funding directly from central government, rather than through a local authority. They are overseen by the charitable academy trusts.

Academisation was not a part of the Conservatives' election manifesto.

Following are some key concerns about the academies:

Academies have no local accountability as they are managed by the outside trusts and not by the local authority – the school governing bodies are mere tokens as the decisions about a school and its work are really made by the commercially motivated trusts. In any case, the governing bodies could be trimmed at will – for example, no parent governors.

Academies are not a guarantee for successful schools – there are many academies failing Ofsted inspections.

Many academies work on about 60% mid-ability range pupils to bring about good results – while above average pupils (about 30%) excel under their own steam or through private tutoring, and the below average pupils (about 30%) struggle.

Most local authorities have but trusts don’t have a track record to improve schools, particularly narrowing the gap in pupils learning.

Lack of systematic progression from any teacher needs identified through appraisals, lesson observations etc to providing the professional development training where needed.

The department for education has no robust arrangements to monitor the effectiveness of the trusts. 25/3/2016

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