Can the 'school revolution' be stopped?

Janet Downs's picture

 Posted on behalf of Trevor Fisher who had difficulty posting this article

The factual analysis produced by Centre Forum is not merely flawed, as Janet Downs said, but largely irrelevant. Fact and fiction are now intertwined in the politics of education. The dominant reality is that politicians are in control and the machinations cannot be subject to debate. The White Paper contains no rational justification for academisation, as the political drivers are above scrutiny. Indeed, Tory Politicians no longer pretend that academisation produces better results, while even the Daily Telegraph has noted that three quarters of academy chains contain 'coasting schools' on the definition of the 2015 Act.

Most blatantly of all Nick Gibb told the Research Ed conference on September 5th that “This government does not believe that all academies and free schools are necessarily better than maintained schools”, but argued that freedom is being granted to innovate. Which is also not the case, as control by politicians on what is taught and how it is taught is controlled by politicians at Westminster – and OFSTED is now struggling to control 'gaming' of Peformance 8 according to the TES of 8th April. And who creates this jungle of regulation and evasion of regulation? It's like Stalin's Russia.

There is no effective debate in such a climate, and as SOSS argued in its autumn briefing (available from the government now brags it is running a 'School Revolution'. Which is true and means they cannot do a U turn. That sets a bigger challenge than talking truth to power. How can the politics of the Westminster Bubble be so challenged that continuing with the Revolution is impossible?

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Carel Buxton's picture
Wed, 13/04/2016 - 21:19

Interesting article from Trevor. Absolutely correct analysis ; for many teachers, parents, and most importantly for children, it really feels like Stalin's Russia.But we can challenge the Tory orthodoxy and we can stop them in their tracks. We won't do it by ' talking to power'. No one looked a hungry tiger in the eyes and lived to tell the tale by talking reasonably to it. Do not be under any illusion they are like a hungry tiger eager to gobble up the welfare state. They way to deal with the tiger is through organised, mass resistance. At Snaresbrook primary school in 2013/4 academisation was threatened as the school went into special measures. Parents, teachers and the local community mobilised. MPs and councillors were lobbied and the campaigners successfully defeated government policy. This government is in a weakened state;they have a small majority , are besieged by scandals and are likely to be severely damaged over Europe. Whilst the tiger is weakened we should be organising locally based campaigns linking parents, grandparents, teachers and support staff in not just defending our children's right to high quality state education, but in reversing the backward measures these spives in suits have introduced. After all we do pay our taxes and we should be exercising our democratic rights. The people are the masters not politicians and we should be making a lot of noise. Then they will have no choice but to listen.

Janet Downs's picture
Thu, 14/04/2016 - 10:14

Carol - a lot of Tory MPs aren't happy about wholesale academization according to the BBC.  

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