Call for Evidence
The Education Select Committee has announced a new inquiry into the academies and free schools programme. Like us, they seem concerned about achievement; failing academies; transparency; the role of chains; forced academies; the local authority /middle tier and whether academy status is suitable for primary schools. Now is a great time to hit back at Gove with straightforward, common-sense arguments – just a quick look through this newsletter shows how wide the cracks in the programme are growing. The AAA will have plenty to say but it would be great to show the Committee just how many parents, teachers, school staff, headteachers, governors and students oppose the programme. How you can help:
- Contribute a response;
- Encourage your trade union branch or other organisation to submit their views;
- Share the link – encourage other individuals and groups to participate.
The committee wants written submissions of up to 3000 words by Thursday 19 December. More details
Profits for Parents?
The Conservative party is being asked to consider for-profit free schools after 2015. Groups of parents would form “co-operatives” to run a free school and then be able to pay themselves dividends if the school did not spend its budget. Steve Baker MP, Chair of the public service policy board of the influential 1922 Committee, says without a hint of irony “The people who should own a public service are the people who use it.”
GCSE Gaming, Equivalents and Cheating
This week newspaper headlines shouted that academies fared better at GCSE than maintained schools but at least one was caught out, forced to correct their headline when commentators pointed out that their own article and the body of the research by NFER said quite the opposite. As the NFER report acknowledged, on GCSE alone – excluding equivalents – ‘long-established academies performed worse than maintained schools’. Both the NUT and the Local Schools Network have analysed the facts. See more at: http://www.teachers.org.uk/
Meanwhile a teacher at Falconwood Academy in South London – part of Mr Gove’s favoured Harris chain – has been caught cheating; rewriting science coursework. This follows earlier unrelated investigations into science and other subjects at neighbouring Harris academies.
Free Schools: Free to ignore the equality act?
Only 2 of the 78 free schools opened in 2011 and 2012 were fully meeting the requirement to publish equality information and measurable equality objectives according to an October 2013 survey. Researchers at Race On The Agenda (ROTA) added that most free schools appeared to be unaware of the Equality Act 2010 and the equality duty, with less than a quarter (23.1%) making reference to the Act in key policies and documents. http://www.rota.org.uk/
Free to fiddle the funds?
Rather than criticise free school founders facing a fraud investigation, Michael Gove has hailed them as idealists. It’s taken the DfE six months to launch an enquiry even though Kings Science Academy is accused of making unsubstantiated payments and nepotism.
North, South, East and West…. Parents all over the country are campaigning against forced academisation. They know that school communities are being duped with false claims about the success of academy status. We know that Gove’s target is numeric – he wants to increase the number of primary academies but because governors, parents and staff aren’t volunteering he has to force them. Snaresbrook showed us that campaigning delivers results:
You can support local campaigns at:
Elton Primary, Bury, Greater Manchester: or on Twitter: @SaveElton
St James Junior, Gloucester:
Cavell Primary, Norfolk: or on Twitter @SaveCavell more here
Dorothy Barley Junior, Barking & Dagenham: Look out for updates on this new campaign atwww.antiacademies.org.uk