Academy chains can grow as fast as possible, says Mr Gove

Janet Downs's picture
Andy Burnham responding to Mr Gove’s announcement about school funding said: “His consultation talks ominously about “chains of academies”. Can he tell us today how big he expects these chains to become, and whether he will place any limits on their expansion?”

This was Mr Gove’s answer : “He asked about the sustainable level of growth of chains. I believe that chains such as the Harris group, Ark or the United Learning Trust are doing an amazing job on the ground, working with local authorities and turning round schools in the worst condition. As far as I am concerned, they should grow at the fastest sustainable rate.”

Mr Gove has made it clear: he’s in favour of academy chains growing quickly. These chains are centralised and unaccountable. And the United Learning Trust (ULT) was criticised by John Burn OBE, a former principal of an academy, who warned about academy chains in his evidence to the Educational Bill Committee. It appeared, he said, that ULT was “not properly accountable to its own schools, their leaders and their communities.”

This is what Mr Gove means by giving power to local people – removing schools from the control of democratically-accountable local authorities and encouraging them to join unaccountable academy chains.
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Janet Downs's picture
Sat, 30/07/2011 - 08:07

United Learning Trust (ULT) which was criticised by John Burn OBE in his evidence to the Educational Bill Committee has had its ban on sponsoring academies lifted.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of heads' union the NAHT,echoed Mr Burns concerns about the unaccountability of academy chains:

"Generally, I don't think large chains of schools will be a positive force," he said. "I don't have a problem with a group of schools with a clear identity working together, but as these things grow to dozens or hundreds of schools, you are recreating local authorities but without the accountability."

Marigold Doyle's picture
Fri, 01/06/2012 - 15:44

Also, chains like Harris and ARK aren't doing particularly well at all. Beneath the veneer, there's lots of informal exclusions, manipulation of data through the excessive use of vocational qualifications and not a lot of substance.

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