The announcement over the weekend that Nicky Morgan will speed up the process to make schools that are ‘coasting’ into academies, is an about face for the Education secretary. She has previously said that the academy model is not the only model that succeeds. Yet now the message is: “Academies are a ‘better kind’ of school than local authority ones”.
This is despite the fact that every study done has shown that there is no evidence to back this claim. Indeed Michael Wilshaw of Ofsted said ‘Struggling schools are ‘no better off’ under academy control’ after the annual Ofsted report this year.
Morgan referred to successful chains such as Harris. The Harris federation is run by a Tory peer and donor, multi-millionaire Lord Harris. Morgan also issued threats to sack head teachers and boards of governors. ‘This kind of talk is not helpful’ said Geoff Barton, a leading Head teacher, on Radio 4’s Today programme.
The ‘listening’ , ‘more carrot than stick’ approach of Morgan, who sought to be different from Gove, seems to have come to an abrupt end. The decision to revert to the Govian ‘war on the teaching profession’ policy has been met with hostility from education unions. Parents and teachers will need to let Nicky Morgan know that she will become as unpopular as Gove if she continues in this vein.