Friday 9 December 2011

Call for a Public Enquiry into the Academy and ‘Free’ schools programme

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Downhills Primary faces being forced to become an Academy

The Anti Academies Alliance is today calling for a public inquiry in the the Coalition’s academy  and free school programme. The revelation in the Financial Times of significant financial errors in the funding of academy converters suggests that DfE ministers and officials do not have a proper grasp of either the cost or impact of the programme.

This should also be a matter of immediate concern to the Education Select Committee who, as yet, have failed to  provide any in depth public scrutiny.

But there are also wider concerns. As Labour Education spokesperson Stephen Twigg noted recently, Michael Gove appears to have put all his ‘school improvement eggs in one basket’. His officials are now seeking to force academy conversions on primary school communities. Yet there is no evidence that this  is either an effective model for school improvement or an efficient use of public funds.

Parents , governors, teachers and the whole education community need to have confidence that the Coalition’s education policy is based on evidence rather than a narrow ideological commitment to the market, de-regulation and privatisation. After all, everyone knows that two decades of experiments in deregulation and privatisation in the financial sector has had appalling consequences.

We cannot afford to let our education system suffer the same sort of catastrophe. We need transparency, proper democratic accountability and confidence that education policy is serving the best interests of all our children.

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4 comments

  1. Audrey said:

    I think there should be an enquiry into all aspects of free schools and academies which should include a study of the financial, educational, feasibility and need for such schools before they are established

    9 December 2011 at 1:21pm
  2. Bob Allonby said:

    I don’t know about a simple enquiry – I suspect a full blown Royal Commission to examine the mess that this (and previous) governments have made of ourt education service would be needed to uncover all the ridiculous ‘initiatives’ that have been introduced in the past 20 or so years.

    9 December 2011 at 2:26pm
  3. Parent Power said:

    If you use the ready reckoners for funding Academies and Free Schools on the D of E website you can see the difference in funding for different areas….there is a set amount per pupil plus the “refund”/pupil amount taken from the LEA. Compare Leeds and Bradford
    . The new free school Bradford Girls Grammar ( which will still be allowed to retain entrance testing even though state funded gets substantially more than an equivalent school in the Leeds area.

    9 December 2011 at 8:26pm
  4. Parent Power said:

    What baffles me is that no one in the media or web is challenging the disgraceful new Admissions Code due to come before Parliament soon. Hidden in this code are the clauses that allow Grammar schools to return ( private schools becoming free schools retaining 11 plus) , SEN children with less right to a good school than a teacher’s child and the ability of any school to increase admission numbers to procure extra fundign with no account of impact on neighbouring schools.

    9 December 2011 at 8:29pm