National secretary’s blog


Thursday 19 September 2013

Gove has much to contemplate as he visits Gloucester Academy on 20th Sept

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AAA Press release: For immediate release

 

Gove has much to contemplate as he visits Gloucester Academy on 20th Sept

 

Staff at Gloucester Academy are concerned about the management of their school. The AAA was contacted anonymously this week after teachers were told that Head teacher, John Reilly, had ‘stepped down’. This being an academy, they were too frightened to speak out publicly. They believe Reilly was sacked and they have no faith in Prospects their academy sponsor.

This comes as little surprise to those who have followed the story of Prospects. Earlier this year Private Eye exposed the murky business of accountability between DfE and Prospects after they were banned from sponsoring anymore academies. http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/08/did-schools-minister-overrule-civil-servants-and-allow-sponsor-with-failing-academy-to-expand-asks-private-eye/

But we were told things can only get better!  Not quite. This year’s GCSE results show further decline, with only 29% achieving results A* C including Maths and English. This is well below Gove’s floor target.

If it was a community school it would earmarked for academy conversion without delay. But it is an academy. So it is Gove’s responsibility, not the Local Authorities’, to sort this out.

Nor is Gloucester Academy is not the only ‘failing’ academy. Once upon a time we were told that academy status was the government’s key mechanism for school improvement. Apparently it was all about meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged children in society. Gloucester Academy has a good number of disadvantaged children, but Gove’s academy magic dust appears to have done little to change things. These children deserve much better than politician’s photo opportunity.

So as Gove visits on Friday, he needs to answer some questions: What really improves a school? What is he going to do about failing academies? What is he doing about failing sponsors such as Prospects? He should also think about when he will he start listen to professional opinion.

 

Ends

 

For further information

Contact: Alasdair Smith 0790296701

AAA National Secretary

office@antiacademies.org.uk

 

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4 comments

  1. Neil Moffatt said:

    Centralising control of schools was a time-bomb waiting to happen. How on earth can the DfE do what all those local authorities, with their local school and community knowledge did before Academy conversions? The civil servants in the DfE are hardly trained to manage failing schools – or at least they will struggle now that the ‘only solution’ of helping failing schools was to convert a school to academy status. It patently does not guarantee success, and they now hit the buffers.

    20 September 2013 at 10:20pm
  2. Tim Davis said:

    I agree Local authorities have been destroyed and will soon be reinvented. Another Crucial issue here is the notion of “failing” .This is a spurious descriptor despite the Fact that the term is now accepted as having some meaning.

    26 September 2013 at 6:37pm
  3. Dave said:

    The question of the “Third Tier” has been around for a while now. It is obvious that the DfE cant look after all the schools in the country. The issue becomes acute as more academies go into a category. Rumour has it that a special job is being created at the DfE to manage “market failure”!

    27 September 2013 at 9:19am
  4. Johan said:

    Sweden has all but disavowed the academy model. The evidence of the past 20 in Sweden is clear that it does nothing to improve standards. Ever wonder why Gove does not mention Sweden anymore? This is why.

    Another point: If you think academies are independent, you are not reading the documentation carefully. Academies are centralised, and in control of Whitehall and the Secretary of State directly. Academies are more controlled by government that LEA schools used to be.

    Whitehall and Gove do not have the specialist resources to help statemented children, improve curriculum or anything required to raise standards.

    It is a big mess that a future government will have to fix.

    Additionally, now Gove bangs on about Finland. Well, all of Finland’s school are “LEA” schools, respectively. No private business interference, no lack of accountability with money (as academies have shown). Just very progressive, solid LEA-type schools.

    Go figure…

    2 October 2013 at 3:04pm