The way in which our school system has been transformed this decade
has been, in its ugliest political facets, a rehearsal for the way in
which our democratic norms are now being trashed. With academy schools,
as with suspension of parliament, two of the key figures were Michael
Gove and Dominic Cummings. In the face of widespread protest, Gove used
procedures meant for emergencies like anti-terrorist laws to shove the Academies Act through parliament in just five working days.
Around half of all children in state-funded schools are now taught by an academy trust. In this new system that is hostile to democracy, one select committee complained in January that “parents and local people have to fight to obtain even basic information about their children’s schools”. And the schools are accountable not to local councillors but only to officials in Whitehall.
The Harris academy trust has received its first ever Ofsted rating
below ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ – with inspectors flagging how pupils were
entered into “inappropriate” qualifications and the number of students
leaving its roll was “too high”.
Harris Academy Orpington was rated as ‘requires improvement’ in a report published today, making it the first ever academy in the 47-school Harris trust to receive an inspection rating below ‘good’.
The report also flagged too many disadvantaged pupils were being suspended and that strict behaviour rules caused “resentment and a sense of injustice” among pupils.