Stories + Views
What do parents do if they have a complaint about an academy? Follow the laid-down procedure, says Gove, which includes a hearing with panel appointed by the proprietor.
The Education Funding Agency (EFA) is ultimately responsible for dealing with complaints about academies, so said Secretary of State, Michael Gove, in his letter to the Education Select Committee. However, parents with complaints must follow the academy’s procedure for dealing with complaints. This procedure must comply with The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2010. These rules state that the complaints procedure is not exhausted until parents have been through three stages:
1 An informal stage where the complaint could be resolved by, say, discussion with a senior member of staff;
2 A formal complaint stage where the complaint is put in writing, and
3 A hearing with a panel appointed by or on behalf of the proprietor.
The “proprietor” is not a misprint. It is the only word which describes the “ownership” of an academy. Mr Gove’s description of the complaints procedure for academies does not include anything about “charities”, “Trustees”, or “Governors”. The word is “proprietor”.
It is all too clear where the Government’s academy policy is leading – to a time when academies have a proprietor and when “the deconstruction of the education function within local authorities” offers a clear potential to “make a substantial return to investors” (Zenna Atkins, ex-Ofsted chair, director of Wey Education). And we must remember the words of Sam Freedman, Mr Gove’s special advisor, who said as long ago as 2008 that when profit-making firms become involved in education, “They are not interested for altruistic reasons. It’s an investment.”