Tuesday 3 February 2015

Tory Education Team in Combative Mood

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On Monday, David Cameron announced that he is “going to war on mediocre schools”, at the weekend Nicky Morgan announced a ‘war on illiteracy and innumeracy’, the Tory education team are certainly in combative mood. Odd, when Nicky Morgan claims she is not a “forcing type of person”. And only last week the Education Select Committee’s (chaired by Conservative MP Graham Stuart) report into Academies and Free Schools stated that: “Current evidence does not support academies as a positive force” and “conflicts of interest are a real issue”.
Widely hailed as totally impractical, Cameron and Morgan are advocating the sacking of approximately 4,000 Head Teachers. They propose that if a school is in ‘special measures’ or ‘requires improvement’, then the leadership is to be removed and ‘sponsors’ (academy chains) are to take over. We are not sure where the 4,000 replacement head teachers are coming from! The 4,000 figure includes 650 or so academies which are either in special measures or require improvement. Cameron was rather ‘light’ on the detail as to why the academy ‘magic’ hasn’t worked for them.
Is his statement merely political punditry or is something else at play? We at the Anti Academies Alliance really struggle to understand how this announcement of ‘war’ against schools can possibly be a vote winner.
Surely threatening to wage war against schools is no way to improve educational standards; all the evidence shows that collaborative, cooperative models provide the best route to school improvement. Time and time again parents, teachers and whole school communities oppose academy conversion. The forced academy programme is hugely unpopular.
Given the endless tales of academy corruption, the outrageous lack of transparency (recently highlighted by the Public Accounts Committee) and the number of big Tory donors with financial interests in academy chains, the speeches of Cameron and Morgan are no more than a rallying cry to Tory supporters and donors; the tax-payer funded gravy train is safe in Cameron’s hands.

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