Gove admits it: there needs to be an “intermediary level” between academies and central government

Janet Downs's picture
Mr Gove has admitted that there aren’t enough accountability mechanisms to monitor academies. He told a breakfast meeting organised by Ark Schools that no one had suggested “an ideal set up” for such a mechanism before falling back on trumpeting “greater transparency of data” and “a refocused Ofsted”.

Then he added that there needed to be an “intermediary level” between schools and central government. But haven’t we got just such mechanisms at the moment? And aren’t they called local authorities? And isn’t Mr Gove busy dismantling this cushion by encouraging schools to break free from what he misleadingly calls “Local Authority control”?

As well as admitting what many on this site have been pointing out for months – that there is no method of accountability between academies and central government – Mr Gove insulted head teachers throughout England by telling them to “stop whingeing” and get on with the job.

Russell Hobb, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, told the TES, that Mr Gove’s message would be resented by the profession.

“It’s a bit rich to suggest that people who complain during the biggest budget cuts in a generation are whingeing,” he said, before accusing Mr Gove of “doing exactly the same thing in whingeing about how the [current] system is not working.”

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Rebecca Hanson's picture
Mon, 07/11/2011 - 23:23

Perhaps the message is finally getting through to him that the only people who have ever through otherwise are people like him who have no experience in planning education, no experience of putting their children through secondary state education and who have not read even a basic text about the economics of state education.

Sweepstake on how long it will be before the penny drops that people like him should never be given any power over state education? I can hear ping, ping, ping going on around Westminster....

Allan Beavis's picture
Wed, 09/11/2011 - 10:49

Admitting - when the game is up - that you've not put proper accountability in place is a feeble gesture when you might not actually have wanted to put regulatory mechanisms in place to begin with.

The lack of effective accountability means that these new schools (Academies and Free Schools being in law the same thing) can dodge and meander their way around proper and fair regulations and even the law, probably for a very long time until a legal challenge is mounted and legislation is re-written to tighten up the loopholes. Gove is encouraging abuses that could lead to unfair admissions, selection and turning a blind eye to new schools' slipping of standards whilst opening the doors to allowing the free market in to run schools.

This level of deregulation leaves school communities vulnerable to the type of bad practice perpetuated by the free market corporations that has resulted in such a catastrophic public lack of faith in the ability of libertarians to deliver what they preach.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 14/11/2011 - 10:50

The board director of the UK Innovation Unit, Valerie Hannon, wrote this after her recent visit to Australia and New Zealand: “Australia has been busy building a national ‘architecture’ of support agencies for schools – on the curriculum, on assessment, on professional standards for teachers, and much else besides. Last time I looked, we were busy demolishing ours. And New Zealand is preoccupied with how to build a middle layer of support between the national government and the schools. I recall we used to have one, once.”

Rosie's picture
Thu, 10/05/2012 - 20:14

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