Commenting ahead of the final scheduled day of debate in Parliament on the Academies Bill on Monday (26 July), Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said;
"What ever people's views on the Academies Bill, there is great distrust at the way the Government has rushed this legislation through.
"The Bill is an attack on the very existence of democratically accountable, free state comprehensive education. It is privatisation on a grand scale and it is unacceptable that such a significant Bill has not been allotted sufficient time to be properly scrutinised.
"After extensive lobbying by the NUT and others, the Government has been forced to make significant concessions. One of which is the requirement for consultation, albeit limited, prior to the establishment of an Academy or a free school. Schools that are seeking to convert may well have to start over again or leave themselves open to legal challenge from parents and staff who have not been consulted on such a significant change to their school.
"The NUT is supporting amendments to the Bill (1), which will be debated on Monday, to improve the provisions on consultation, in particular to remove the clause which allows consultation to take place after an Academy order is granted.
"It is completely against any common sense understanding of 'consultation' for parents to be asked if they want their school to become an Academy after the decision has already been taken. It will bring the whole Academies programme into further disrepute and will make a nonsense of Government commitments to a 'big society' with maximum public involvement in decision making.
"The NUT will continue its work across the trade union movement and with parents, Governors and MPs to build on the huge support there already is to defend our state education system and to ensure that all children have access to a good local school for every child."
For further details contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706 or 07879480061
(1) The NUT is supporting amendment 86 tabled by Lisa Nandy MP. Amendment 77 (tabled by Roberta Blackman Woods MP) and amendment 80 (tabled by Ed Balls MP, Vernon Coaker MP et al) have a similar purpose and the NUT is also supportive of these.
The text of the amendments can be found at:More Articles by National Union of Teachers (NUT) ...