Commenting on reports in the media that all schools in England will be forced to convert to an academy, in a schools white paper set to be announced this week, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Finally the Government has come clean on its education priorities and admitted that its real agenda all along has been that every school must become an academy. The fig leaf of ‘parental choice’, ‘school autonomy’ and ‘raising standards’ has finally been dropped and the Government’s real agenda has been laid bare – all schools to be removed from the support of their LA and schools instead to be run by remote academy trusts, unaccountable to parents, staff or local communities.
“Parents will be as outraged as teachers that the Government can undo over 50 years of comprehensive public education at a stroke. Only last week HMCI Sir Michael Wilshaw pointed out to Government the serious consequences for children’s education of schools being run by multi-academy trusts. But this arrogant Government is choosing to ignore the evidence from the HMCI, the Education Select Committee and the Sutton Trust’s own Chain Effects report, which clearly demonstrates that academy status not only does not result in higher attainment but that many chains are badly failing their pupils, particularly their disadvantaged pupils.
“The Government’s ultimate agenda is the privatisation of education with schools run for profit. The NUT will continue to resist the Government’s attempts to privatise our education system and will campaign alongside parents and other allies to Stand Up for Education.
“The most urgent problems in schools are to do with the chronic teacher shortage, real terms funding cuts, the school places crisis, chaotic implementation of the curriculum, and workload going through the roof. The drive towards total academisation will do absolutely nothing to fix those problems.”