Stories + Views
Will rush to academy status force all schools to convert? Alternatives
Guardian Education ran a story today on the dilemmas that headteachers are facing regarding moving to Academy status.
This rang very true for the LA where I am a school governor. As the article stated: “If schools are looking to their local authorities to give them reasons to resist the pressure to convert, it seems they may not get them.” In my area at no time has the local authority come telling heads and governors ‘if you don’t go, we’ll do this, this and this to help you’. The LA resignation and ambivalence towards academy status is palpable and there is definitely the feeling amongst some governors and probably heads of ‘where’s the leadership from the local authority?’
In my LA we are being faced with a possible scenario where the local school economy is being destabilised and less and less schools are being left within the authority. In fact, prior to this government, the LA moved six of its secondary schools to academy status.
The question and perhaps advice being sought here is what does a school do that has resisted going to academy status if they find out that they are only a couple of ‘maintained’ schools left within the authority?
If a school stays as a maintained school, which they would dearly want, do they end up then having to take all the LA’s hard to place children that the academies are not taking? If that is the case do they then cease to be a ‘comprehensive’ school? Or do they opt for academy status but use the academy framework to maintain their ‘comprehensive’ status embedding within their policies all the postive aspects of a comprehensive school and thus enshrining their comprehensive nature? And if so can this actually be done?
For me as a school governor and a parent (and also against the Academy ideology) it is a difficult dilemma. Do you risk doing Gove’s dirty work for him by opting for academy status and going against what you believe in or do you risk being isolated?