Hatcher, R. (2009) Setting up Academies, campaigning against them: An analysis of a contested policy process. Management in Education 23(3) 108–112.
Academies have proved to be one of the most contentious of the Labour government’s education policies. At the national level they have provoked outright opposition from the unions of classroom teachers (NUT, NASUWT, ATL) and school support workers (Unison, GMB), and the TUC as a whole. At the local level proposals for Academies have been challenged by numerous campaigns of opposition, bringing together teachers, parents and trade unions. Local campaigns are affiliated to a national organisation, the Anti-Academies Alliance, which is supported by the unions and has organised several conferences. At the Anti-Academies Alliance Committee of Enquiry held at the House of Commons in 2007 some 40 local campaigns were represented (Anti-Academies Alliance 2007). Many of these campaigns have mobilised several hundred people in meetings, lobbies, demonstrations and petitions. Together they represent probably the largest popular mobilisation on any issue of school education under New Labour.
The education policies of the Labour government, including Academies, have been the subject of a large body of academic research and analysis, much of it critical. However, it has tended to neglect popular dissent and movements of opposition.