State education is being smashed to pieces by academisation and it must be halted.

Dominic Cragoe's picture
 10
As head teacher of a very large primary school in Norfolk we have been savagely targeted by Ofsted and the DfE for the crime of speaking out against academies. Norfolk LA have been under prolonged attack for 18 months. LA maintained Good and Outstanding schools are totally ignored by Norfolk MPs but as with Great Yarmouth Primary Academy Liz Truss can't wait to praise academies and free schools with similar inspection judgements. It is a bit like Maoist China. Thus Norfolk's largest high school, Thorpe St Andrews, an LA maintained school, has just got an outstanding judgement and every Norfolk national politician has remained silent.

At Sheringham primary school we were again judged outstanding in July 2013 but over the summer our overall grade was changed through the Ofsted QA to Good whilst Leadership remained at outstanding. Thankfully the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), after a rigorous review of our Teaching School work this term decided that we would retain our TS status.

It seems that the Department for Education (DfE), after failing to attract outstanding primaries to become academies post 2010 and then at huge cost their 42 academy consultants also failing, have decided to use our high school colleagues to sell the academy policy to primaries via multi academy trusts. It seems that the DfE only want freedoms for primary HTs and Governing Bodies IF they agree with academisation. This situation is becoming appalling and many, many great HTs are leaving the profession thus accentuating an already dire shortage of school leaders.
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Neil Moffatt's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 13:22

Your reference to Maoist China rings true - this has all the hallmarks of a dictatorship totally disinterested in any counter viewpoints. The force and cost of force to drive the sacred Academies programme is anti-democratic, tiresome, and anti-education. There is no net benefit to the Education outcomes of pupils that justifies the singular Academies-are-the-only-solution approach nor the force used to make this happen. Indeed, the process of conversion to academies creates a prolonged period of instability, at cost to the tax payer, so damages what should be a carefully handled situation in many cases.

And the agenda for the DfE, as I have said many times here, is purely a commercial one - the Tories are feeding their business partners with state assets for free. They will deny this - they will constantly lie by denying this, but this is the reality. There are no other rational explanations for the barbaric approach taken by the DfE.

Pupils, parents and teachers really are of less importance to the DfE than the transfer of state assets into private hands.

Janet Downs's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 16:04

Neil - the Annual Academies Report 2013/14 (page 24) has a pie-chart which shows 50 of the 565 approved academy sponsors are education businesses. I haven't seen any publicity about the encroaching of education businesses, whose prime responsibility is to their shareholders, being given permission to sponsor academies.


Janet Downs's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 16:09

Dominic - the DfE doesn't want to acknowledge outstanding non-academies (unless they're in the process of converting, of course). It wants to promote the perception that all local authority schools (now called "council-run" or schools "run by politicians") are inferior to academies especially academies in chains.


agov's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 16:18

"every Norfolk national politician has remained silent."

'Trust the people' as Labour people used to say before Blair and his rancid and shameful acolytes took over and destroyed that party. Seek out and take every opportunity to ensure people know what the truth is.


"have decided to use our high school colleagues to sell the academy policy to primaries via multi academy trusts."

That rings true in my own area. Can you offer any more details about it?

Neil Moffatt's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 17:07

This is worrying, Janet, as it may foretell an imminent removal of the non-profit requirement, just as the initial down payment by sponsors was waived. Fundamentally, a free-market approach to education can only work if there is surplus funds to pay shareholders dividends. So something is sacrificed, and education is compromised.


jennyquestions's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 18:17

"It is a bit like Maoist China"


jennyquestions's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 19:45

Exactly. And the entire cabinet are all very well 'educated'. There needs to be a new term: pseudo-educated.


jennyquestions's picture
Sat, 12/07/2014 - 19:47

This is where it is leading; we need only look to the US to see this in action. And who's reading the Local Schools Network? Practically nobody!


FJM's picture
Tue, 15/07/2014 - 10:06

Maoist China? If you read about Maoist China, I think you'll find things are not quite that bad, unless teachers in Norfolk are being paraded around in dunces' hats, beaten to death, thrown out of top-floor windows or made to engage in 'struggle sessions' (beaten savagely, in case you didn't know what that meant in China). Cut the ridiculous hyperbole! You also mean 'uninterested' not 'disinterested'. Whatever one may think of academies, and I have my doubts, the rest of your comment is also unreasonable, with talk of a 'barbaric approach' and the Tories being driven by purely commercial agenda.


FJM's picture
Tue, 15/07/2014 - 10:07

It isn't at all like Maoist China. Read some history!


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