EARLY 20 years since their controversial introduction by New Labour in the early noughties, academies continue to see scandal after scandal appear in both local and national media.
As it stands, around 70 per cent of secondary pupils and just over 24 per cent of primary pupils attend academies. Local authorities sadly no longer have the power to build new schools where needed and any new school built must be an academy with permission given by central government.
Yet despite both the constant fiascos and evidence to show that the academy model doesn’t work, we live in an age where schools are passed around like commodities without the slightest bat of an eyelid.
Parents at a primary school have slammed its governing body and accused them of “going behind our backs” after controversial academisation plans were sprung on them from out of the blue.
Handsworth Primary School in Highams Park sent an email to parents on Friday (June 22) offering them the chance to take part in a four-week consultation.
Pupils gathered with their parents outside the school in Handsworth Avenue on Friday morning (June 29) holding handmade signs and chanting, to protest the move.
More than 500 people have signed an online petition opposing the academisation of the two-from entry school which was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in May.
A Downing Street reception for school teachers hosted by the prime minister last month was an “ideological love-in” at which staff from academies and free schools outnumbered those from maintained schools five to one.
Theresa May and Damian Hinds welcomed more than 100 “high-performing” teachers to Number 10 on May 21 for a celebration of their “hard work and dedication”.
But the guest list shows that 80 per cent of attendees were from mainstream academies, despite the fact academies make up just 35 per cent of schools nationally. Just 15 per cent of invitees teach in mainstream local maintained schools.
Exposed: The Downing Street teacher reception where academies reigned supreme
After announcing plans to walk away from four of its schools last month, UCAT has confirmed this week that it will also give up the remaining three.
Leaders say it “cannot continue to operate financially and provide the education we would wish”.
In May, the trust agreed to walk away from University Primary Academy Weaverham, University Academy Kidsgrove, University Primary Academy Kidsgrove and and University of Chester Academy Northwich.
It will now also surrender University of Chester CE Academy, University Academy Warrington and University Church Free School.
Troubled UCAT academy trust to close, shedding seven schools
told to improve or have its funding pulled.
The Department for Education (DfE) has served Sandymoor School with a ‘termination warning notice’ informing it that it has not done enough to address concerns identified by Ofsted.
School leaders have until Friday, July 13, to respond and show how they can turn around its situation and the DfE has said it will consider the reply ‘when deciding whether or not to terminate’ Sandymoor’s funding agreement.
This would effectively mean the school would probably have to close under its current guise.
However the school has told parents that the principal Emma Simpson and and governors now believe it would be best for the school to be amalgamated into an existing multi-academy trust – a group of academies run by the same trust.