New pressure on schools to become Academies

small heath

Fighting Academies at Small Heath School in Birmingham

By Jess Edwards, Lambeth NUT Joint Secretary

Last month saw the passing of the Education and Adoption Bill and as some commentators have said this is a dark day for education

The government’s plans for primary schools to become academies seems to have run into snags with 82% of primaries still run by local authorities. The Bill will force more schools to become academies but is based on scant evidence. In fact even the Education Committee of parliament finds little to recommend about academies saying that:

There is at present no convincing evidence of the impact of academy status on attainment in primary schools.

It is against this background that recent moves by local authorities to begin discussing future structural changes with schools must be set.

In my previous article I was of the opinion that local authorities were adopting a ‘jump before you are pushed’ attitude to academisation. Schools across London from Greenwich, Lambeth and Islington are reporting that governing bodies are discussing their school becoming an academy. In discussions with them, local authority leads on education have denied that this is their attitude. They are merely seeking to clarify matters in the light of the Education Bill they say.

This may be pragmatic but it is an insufficient. In the current climate with the government pushing for the formation of Multi Academy Trusts, Labour Local Authorities need to outline plans to maintain schools under local democratic control.

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