The Radio 4
programme about enforced academy conversion for primary schools (16 February 2012) uncovered the following:
1 One head teacher interviewed said she didn’t know why her school was targeted because other schools had worse results and they were not singled out. Her school had exceeded the benchmark.
2 The head teacher said she had been contacted by a “Man from the Ministry” who gave her no reasons. Neither she nor the Governing Body had received anything in writing – it was all done by e-mail or phone. There was no "paper trail".
3 The targeted schools tended to be those in urban areas of deprivation.
4 An interviewee who had met potential academy sponsors in Birmingham felt the visiting chains, which had no experience of primary education, were arrogant and over-confident.
5 Academy chains imposed conditions which went against the much-hyped autonomy supposedly enjoyed by academies.
6 Stephen Machin, one of the researchers behind the academy report which the Government uses to underpin its conversion programme, said it was not possible to compare sponsored academies established from under-performing schools under Labour with either converter academies, established from mainly outstanding schools, or primary schools.
The message from heads and Governing Bodies was that they felt bullied and intimidated. They were given no choice – it was a case of choose a sponsor or have one imposed.
“They create a prison and call it freedom.”