Opinion Former Article

NUT comment on Academy Figures

Commenting on figures announced today regarding the number of schools in England open as academies or due to become academies, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“After yesterday’s damning report on academies, commissioned by Pearson and the RSA, the Education Secretary should take no pride from today’s academy conversion numbers. Despite being fully aware of the fact that academies could lead to social division in our education system, are open to unfair and socially divisive admissions procedures and are drawing billions of pounds of resources out of the schools system, Michael Gove continues to plough down this pointless and divisive path.

“The Government is bit-by-bit dismantling any coherent provision for our children’s and young people’s education. It is a myth that power will be put into the hands of head teachers and teachers as many academy chains adopt top-down structures and policies which all their schools have to work within. Voices from across the board have raised concerns that getting rid of the role played by local authorities is not a wise move. At the very least their functions will have to be replaced by another ‘middle tier’, which no doubt will raise its own issues of accountability and cost.

“Very few schools have shown enthusiasm for converting to academies. Of those who did so voluntarily, a 2012 survey of heads by Reform showed that in the majority of cases they did so to take advantage of the additional funding they received. It is for this reason that the Education Secretary has had to look at ever more ruthless measures to boost the numbers of academies, forcibly converting schools through ever changing floor targets, league table criteria and Ofsted inspection demands.

“Michael Gove is presiding over an education policy that does not work, is socially divisive and which does not have the support of the overwhelming majority of teachers. As the Bright Blue think tank has made clear, the Conservative Party’s education agenda is not about standards but about reshaping our schools in preparation for them to be run for profit. Future generations of children will pay the price of this folly unless it is stopped.”

END                                       pr02-2013
For further information contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 3780 4706 or 07879480061
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