A wave of resistance by parents against their schools being taken
over by academy trusts is building across the country, with protests in
Essex, Kent, London, West Yorkshire, East Sussex, Dorset, Hertfordshire and beyond, according to campaigners.
This week there were two big protests by parents and teachers: one at Waltham Holy Cross primary school in Waltham Abbey, Essex, last Sunday; and on Wednesday strikes and protests closed three schools in Peacehaven, near Brighton in East Sussex.
Campaigners say there has been a shift in parents’ attitudes, with many now better informed about academisation and more willing to challenge decisions to take their community schools out of local authority control and hand them to private trusts.
Opposition against the removal of schools from local
authority control has resurged as families march in the streets and
headteachers reignite calls for forced academisation to end.
increasingly leading the battles against schools being converted into
academies, which are state schools independent of local councils, as
they become more aware of negative stories.
The increased use of WhatsApp and social media
groups connecting opposing parents across the country, including those
who have been successful in their fight, has also spurred families on.
Labour’s pledge to end the forced conversion of local schools into academies at their annual conference, where they condemned the “fat cat” salaries of CEOs at academy chains, added fuel to the fire.
A former ‘super-head’ was paid in excess of £200,000 at a
cash-strapped academy trust – while teachers claimed they had to buy
their own pens and textbooks to teach kids.
An ECHO investigation found millions had been lost after a catastrophic failure to budget, at an academy trust responsible for schools in some of the most deprived areas in Britain.
Academy trusts should have mid-year audit review to prevent the
public finding out about their failings, the academies minister has
Lord Agnew outlined his advice in a letter he sent to auditors today about academy trust financial management and governance.
The letter, published by the DfE, says the department is “particularly concerned” when it sees that issues raised by an auditor in one year “remain unresolved in the following year”.
One of the largest academy chains in the country is facing a vote of no-confidence from its staff.
representing staff at Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), which runs more
than 60 schools, are today launching a ballot asking if employees have
confidence in the organisation’s leadership.
This is in response to what they claim is a failure by AET to listen to staff over proposed cutbacks and restructuring. The unions say that these changes will put children and staff at serious risk.