Wednesday 14 March 2012

Michael Gove’s ‘brokers’ who are bullying our schools

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The government are using ‘brokers’ to tour schools that they consider to be ‘underperforming’. According to the DfE their remit is to:

“have conversations with local authorities to explore whether an academy is the right solution for schools below the floor and/or those in an Ofsted category. There are also OSC sponsor brokers who work with OSC brokers to agree an appropriate sponsor package for each project in development.”

We have recieved many reports about the activities of these brokers. Very few would say that they felt they had been involved in a ‘conversation’. Most are being told that they have no choice but to become academies. These brokers are Gove’s fixers, bullying schools into complying.

So how many of them are there? This question was asked in Parliament recently:

Academies Dave Anderson (Lab, Blaydon):To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many officials of his Department work on the brokerage of sponsored academies; and how many such officials are being recruited to such roles.

Schools Minister, Nick Gibb: There are currently 37 FTE officials in DFE in the Department’s Brokerage and Underperformance Divisions. There are currently three vacancies in this area of the Department that we are taking steps to fill.

So Michael Gove has 40 people employed simply to tour our schools bullying them into becoming academies. He needs so many because schools don’t want to become academies that they need a team of ‘brokers’ to persuade them.

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12 comments

  1. Giles Pattison said:

    They have just made contact with my daughter’s school. We were told in an unsolicited approach from one Danny Sullivan, that the Department for Education expected Godalming Junior School to become part of an academy trust. This is despite assurances last November from Ofsted that the school would be given every opportunity and assistance to come out of special measures and that academy status was one of a number of options further down the line if the school failed to turn things around. The school is doing fine thank you very much and is turning things around, so Danny; get lost, nobody invited you, you are not welcome here. If anybody has any advice on how best to confront this mendacious, politically driven sabotage, I would be very grateful.

    10 June 2012 at 9:39pm
  2. Alasdair Smith said:

    Hi – we have plenty of experience of how to resist this unwelcome pressure. Please email us office@antiacademies.org.uk

    12 June 2012 at 11:09am
  3. Sharon Stafford said:

    I have just received a letter from my son’s school to inform me that they have applied to become an academy . This is a junior school that is not a failing school but the majority of families are on low income and do not get involved with the school at all. The school hope academy status will be approved and in place by Aug 2011. I’m absolutely furious of the lack of consultation with parents and I’m feeling rather powerless over this situation. I feel like starting a campaign but wonder if it will be worth the energy given that this has been supported by the Head, some teachers, the Governors.

    Please advise.

    Sharon Stafford

    21 June 2012 at 5:28pm
  4. Edna Dawson said:

    You are lucky that you have had some notification from your son’s school. We have just found out from our local councillor that our head and Governing body signed an academy order nearly 12 months ago without the consultation of any of the stakeholders!! This information was extracted from the head with pliers by the councillor.Needless to say we are angry. The school is holding a parent giving meeting on 26th sept2012. This was after much cohersion from a few parents. We are not under performing school. we are an improving school which has never been in special measures and this yrs year 6 sats prove that. The head and GB have not fought for the school and has gone a head and made a decision which has great ramifications for us all. Our school is in a socially deprived and high unemployment area. The government once again has prayed on the vunerable and weak. We should not allow them do this. by the way the head is leaving us at the end of the year!! Does this remind you of the captain of that sinking italian ship earlier this year who left his passengers to perish?

    20 September 2012 at 10:50am
  5. michelle cardno said:

    My daughters school has also been told that they are being forced into becoming an academy. No consultation with staff or parents/governors, no right to appeal the decision, despite marked improvements this year since the ofsted report. Surely this breaches the rules on natural justice, does anyone have any experience with the legal challenge for this, or on fighting this government for abuse of process maybe?

    15 October 2012 at 8:36pm
  6. alasdair said:

    We have plenty of experience of how to resist this unwelcome pressure. There have been legal challenges to the process, although without success so far. For more information please email us office@antiacademies.org.uk

    17 October 2012 at 12:17pm
  7. Trevon Muhammad said:

    Good Afternoon

    I’m a student journalist form Birmingham City University and I’m currently writing a story on Academy Status. Half of Secondary Schools and a quarter of Primary Schools in Birmingham have either become Academies or are in the process of becoming so. I’d like to speak to a member of the Anti Academy Alliance about some of the reasons why this happening on such a scale and some of the dangers of it. Who can I speak with??

    5 November 2012 at 12:06pm
  8. alasdair smith said:

    you can contact me on 07528201697

    5 November 2012 at 12:09pm
  9. Andrea said:

    When our High School was under LEA control they asked parents if they would be interested in buying an IPAD for their child to use at school. Overwhelming response was no so the school said OK plans dropped. However the School (with little consultation) has now become an Academy and (with no consultation) we have now been told that the school are moving towards all children having an IPAD purchased by parents, starting now, homework will be set on the IPAD’s, here is how you buy them! There will be a ‘few’ for children whose parents don’t buy them to use during break and lunch to do homework on and Oh and we will also need money for any Apps that we need to buy etc. I strongly feel that without adequate guidance and the watchful eye of the LEA that parents of children at Academy Schools will become vulnerable to future financial demands with little or no comeback.

    very angry

    5 December 2012 at 3:09pm
  10. ROSETTA TICKNER said:

    Our local primary school was forced to become an academy with no real consultation. Now the secondary school is being targeted and a broker has apparently been appointed.How do I find out who they are and what academy chain they are forcing on us?

    2 May 2013 at 6:30pm
  11. Dave said:

    You are entitled to consultation Rosetta. School should be having meetings for parents to discuss the issue. Where parents are informed of the reality of academies the are usually overwhelmingly against them. Also anybody is entitled to go along to governors meetings to hear what is said and minutes should be published.

    4 May 2013 at 11:48am
  12. ROSETTA TICKNER said:

    Thanks Dave, that’s exactly what I have said in several emails to LEA and Chair of Governors. Found out last night from letter given out to parents that consultation process has now begun and Academy chosen! It’s the Greenwood Dale Trust which has already aquired two local primary schools.
    (Have already had a run in with this crowd as, despite assurances, they went ahead and changed the uniform at one school with no parent consultation.)
    ALSO, most worrying is the fact that the senior school,despite only having just begun the consultation process yesterday, has gone ahead and changed the logo of the school’s ICT faculty to that of the Greenwood Dale Trust!
    So much for democracy!

    16 May 2013 at 8:57am