Over the break there was a good deal of media attention following the publication of the white paper (Educational Excellence Everywhere). I hadn’t appreciated the level of distrust surrounding academies that still seems to prevail. Back in 2008 when I was appointed there were less than 100 academies and we were seen as something of an experiment, I could understand the lack of trust. Over the last eight years things have changed, there are now 5272 academies in England, 2020 are secondary! The white paper challenges all schools to become academies by 2022.
On facebook I noticed the following posting warning us about academies suggesting that they:
-Take schools out of the control of experts and hands them to people who can make money from them.
-Offer a complete top-down reorganisation that wasn’t promised in the manifesto because that worked well for the NHS
-Frees parents from the burden of having a say in the running of their local schools
-Empower teachers and headteachers by telling them exactly what’s right for them
-Guarantee higher standards by not taking children with additional learning or other needs
-Remove control from evil, democratically elected councils in favour of nice, unaccountable bureaucracies
-Help fulfil potential such as academy CEOs potential to earn 200k+ and make money from employing their own companies.
I find it disappointing and frustrating that there is so much misinformation in the system. My response to the seven points are as follows:
1. There is no money to be made and all academies must have qualified teachers and leaders!
2. Not sure how the NHS comparison is relevant
3. Parents continue to help govern academies, thankfully
4. This doesn’t make any sense to me
5. Nonsense, we have a statutory duty to abide by the admissions code
6. We are accountable to the EFA, Ofsted, and all stakeholders.
7. I wish!
It is good and right that we debate this important issue informed by the true differences between academies, free schools et al. Please do join me for the parent engagement evening later this month where I look forward to hearing your views.