Anti Academies Alliance NEWS + Meeting in Parliament 22 JUNE with Caroline Lucas MP
If You Thought the 2010 Academies Act was Bad…..
The 2015 Education and Adoption Bill, described by the Local Schools Network as signalling ‘the new authoritarian conservative Britain’ will have its second reading next week. We have grave concerns about this Bill, which includes the rapid expansion of the free schools and academies programme, and the effect it will have on our schools. Therefore,
on 22nd June from 6.00pm while MPs debate the Bill, we’ll be hosting an open meeting in the House of Commons
to discuss how to oppose it. Visitors will need to go through security so allow plenty of time if you’d like to join us. As well as Alasdair Smith AAA national secretary, speakers include Henry Stewart of the Local Schools Network, Caroline Lucas MP, Catherine West MP and Clive Lewis MP who used his maiden speech to protest at the Inspiration Trust’s takeover of Hewett School in Norwich.
Although the Bill promises that ‘coasting’ schools will be converted to academy status, it does not define ‘coasting’. Will it be based on Ofsted judgements, pupil data or the whim of the Secretary of State or her viceroys – the Regional Schools Commissioners? RSCs, whose personal key performance indicators include the number of academy conversions, will be given new powers to intervene in maintained schools. The new Act, if passed, will see governors, councillors and local communities forced to implement the academy ‘solution’ whether or not they think it’s in the best interest of their children. And what of the ‘failing’ academies and free schools? These are handed to the DfE’s academy sponsor of choice – no doubt a chain - without public scrutiny or consultation. The price of ‘autonomy’ seems to be even more centralised control from Whitehall.
Free Schools in Free Fall
The Secretary of State found it difficult to put her finger on the number of ‘failing’ academies but one thing she can be sure of - it’s on the rise. Just take a look at our Twitter timeline @antiacademies or our Facebook page. This week we learned that a Catholic Free School in Camborne, Cornwall which cost £4.5million for only 60 pupils, is to be taken over by another sponsor. Also in the South West, Route 39 Academy has been judged to require improvement. Opening in North Devon with less than half the promised number of students, this was the school that offered free farm park tickets to parents who signed up to support their bid.
40% Off at Ofsted
In an ironic twist, Ofsted has abandoned its own free market experiment and brought its inspectors in-house. The profit-making giants like Serco and Tribal that inspect our schools will lose their contracts from the start of next term. However a whopping 40% of existing inspectors failed to get the in-house jobs. And Ofsted told the TES that an ‘initial sift’ of additional inspectors took out about 500 who lacked the relevant qualifications or leadership experience, or did not possess qualified teacher status.
We bid a not so fond farewell to the Independent Academies Association which is closing in the face of insolvency. The Association, whose honorary president is Lord Andrew Adonis, acknowledged that in the future our children will be educated in Multi Academy Trusts – ‘chains’ to you and me – rather than individual ‘autonomous’ academies.
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