There are now 203 academies open across the country. Below we list the reasons we oppose them.
The government’s claim that academies are raising standards and that their results are improving faster than in other schools is not proven because the data is kept secret. Furthermore, such data that it has been possible to acquire indicates that the government’s claim is wide open to critical challenge.
Covert and overt admissions and exclusion practices enable academies to skew their intakes in favour of those from higher-achieving backgrounds.
Local authorities can ‘direct’ maintained schools to accept special needs and looked-after children but can only ‘ask’ academies.
There is increasing evidence of academies excluding more children than maintained schools.
Evading Education Law
Academies are not covered by general education law which means that their students and parents have fewer rights than those of schools in the maintained sector. Academies should be brought under the umbrella of general education law and the recently published education and skills bill should be the vehicle used to achieve this.
Rushed, flawed and manipulated consultation processes show a complete disregard of the views of local people. There is no democratic ballot for parents and teachers within the consultation process.
The sponsor has the power to appoint the majority of governors.
Academies are only required to appoint one parent and one staff governor and they are rarely representative of the communities they are supposed to serve.
Staff Terms and Conditions
Academies have high staff turnover rates, and staff in academies can be prey to discriminatory employment practices. Teachers and support staff working in academies deserve the same protection as those working in the maintained sector.
The Power of the Sponsor
The sponsor gains almost absolute power once a school acquires academy status. They take control of public assets – the buildings and the land.
OECD research suggests that where schools systems have a greater diversity of types of school, there is a greater tendency towards more social segregation.
An Unproven Experiment
The academy programme remains hotly contested. Lord Hattersley has warned that academies will create a ‘hierarchy’ of schools.