Many think the fight against academies is over, now more schools are converting to become academies. The mass media have now decided to neglect how radical these reforms are, and simply not recognize the similarity between the privatization of the NHS and our education system. Where was the pause for thought when Michael Gove railroaded the Academies Act last year?
After the Academies Act got through we did see schools converting to academies at a much slower rate than now. This was due to the high risk, lack of information and little benefits offered to a community school. Therefore it was schools with very ambitious head teachers and governors who craved independence and felt confident enough that they could ‘go it alone’. Some with edgy priorities and little to no consultation for teachers and local community; whilst many working alongside profit driven education companies/chains in order to set them up.
The story now is very different. At a time where cuts are happening across all sectors many just saw the conversion as extra money and an opportunity to become independent to escape redundancies and avoid the cuts made to their budgets. As more and more schools have gone, more have felt pushed into the decision of converting. This does not suggest a sudden change of thought on academies and neither will it be the best decision for those schools long term.
This is not just a problem for our local communities who now have schools that are only democratically accountable to the secretary of state, but this is a huge problem for central government. Many academies who didn’t do the conversion for independence, will still seek that support and guidance from government. They will either just continue to work in collaboration with the Local Authority (who may not have the ability to work in the same manner as other schools convert and economies of scale diminish). Or they will be flooding the YPLA/EFA with emails in calls
Now the government did not plan for every school to become an Academy. It can’t have, as you can see in Warwick Mansell’s article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/apr/26/academies-lacseg-funding...
- the figures do not add up and the YPLA/EFA are going to end up answerable to every school in England- if they get there way. This isn’t possible and something is going to have to give. My only possible thought is that now Gove has the power to convert any school he wants he won’t choose the school to create their own trust or work with the local authority but will be getting private companies and corporations to pick up his mess and set up vulnerable schools with for profit organisations.
This cannot happen; we want to see good quality mixed provision in all areas that can work collaboratively between school, the local community and the local authority. Isn’t this the localism that the ConDem’s wanted? Or are we going to end up with Academy Chains that have in many cases acted in isolation with the local community schools and have created hostility amongst the community and with local authority.
Councillor’s could be on your side with this one, the vulnerable schools that have already taken academy status are at risk we need to maintain the schools we have do not take this gamble.
There will be a great conference on Saturday the 11th of June set up by SERTUC and the Anti Academies Alliance which offers a great line up and some interesting workshops that look one year on from the Academies Act. Register here: http://bit.ly/mERBKS
. This will offer more understanding and information on how to help keep your schools state maintained.