Responding to the announcement that the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove is to write to every headteacher inviting them to apply for academy status, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:
"This is a deeply disappointing announcement on a number of levels.
"To write to headteachers before the legislation supporting the spread of academy status has even been published and laid before Parliament shows blatant disregard for the democratic process.
"If academies are being set up to raise standards, then the evidence shows that they perform no better than any other type of schools. Ironically, the first schools to be targeted are the schools already deemed to be outstanding.
"If academies are about creating the 'big society', then evidence shows that such schools segregate and fragment communities.
"If it is about choice for parents and the public, evidence shows that what parents and the public want are good local schools run by local councils, democratically accountable to local communities.
"If its about 'choice' then if all schools are academies where is the choice and diversity?
If its about value for money, increased the autonomy for schools which academies bring is the most expensive model of educational provision.
"These proposals are not about providing high quality education for all. They are purely political ideology and dogma. They are about the break up of state education, which was the stated aim of the Conservatives before the General Election.
"It is essential that those who care about social justice, fairness and equality, who value public services and care about the future of state education, do not allow this to happen."
NASUWT Press Office