The Anti Academies Alliance is today calling for a public inquiry in the the Coalition’s academy and free school programme. The revelation in the Financial Times of significant financial errors in the funding of academy converters suggests that DfE ministers and officials do not have a proper grasp of either the cost or impact of the programme.
This should also be a matter of immediate concern to the Education Select Committee who, as yet, have failed to provide any in depth public scrutiny.
But there are also wider concerns. As Labour Education spokesperson Stephen Twigg noted recently, Michael Gove appears to have put all his ‘school improvement eggs in one basket’. His officials are now seeking to force academy conversions on primary school communities. Yet there is no evidence that this is either an effective model for school improvement or an efficient use of public funds.
Parents , governors, teachers and the whole education community need to have confidence that the Coalition’s education policy is based on evidence rather than a narrow ideological commitment to the market, de-regulation and privatisation. After all, everyone knows that two decades of experiments in deregulation and privatisation in the financial sector has had appalling consequences.
We cannot afford to let our education system suffer the same sort of catastrophe. We need transparency, proper democratic accountability and confidence that education policy is serving the best interests of all our children.