The Coalition’s Academy Plans backfire

10 November 2010
The Local Schools Network
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A new report shows that the Coalition’s education policy of allowing all schools to become Academies has seriously backfired. The stated aim was to raise standards across the board, particularly in our most socially disadvantaged areas. A new report published by the Centre for Economic Performance shows that the majority of schools who have become Academies in 2010 are those based in wealthy areas. In other words, these plans have simply given extra funds to schools which are already doing well and are in locales of social advantage. It’s clear then that the Coalition’s plans have simply strengthened the social and academic divisions which are already very visible to see: the children from wealthy backgrounds have gained significant advantages while those from poorer ones have been left behind. This report makes a nonsense of the government’s stated aims and does not bode well for their future policies. More than ever we need to bring Local Authorities — or some kind of “middling” authority — back into the picture so that schools can equitable funding and fairer admissions’ procedures.

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2 comments

  1. A bit disingenuous isn’t it?.

    There are no “extra funds” involved in gaining academy status. The (academy-status) outstanding school which my son attends will simply get back a significant sum that is presently removed by the LA – but it will largely be used to buy back services that represent good value. What the school can do is determine its own spending priorities, not follow those of county hall. These include continuing present partnerships with ‘improving schools’.

    And as the school has no admissions criteria relating to the proximity of family residence, whether it is located in one area or another is not relevant.

    Hyperbole doesn’t win arguments. The case for or against academies is pretty finely balanced (hence them being introduced by a Labour government and continued by a Tory one). I think your overly-strident tone misjudges the mood of many left-leaning parents.

    from AS
  2. I have nothing against “Academies” per se as long as they are fully accountable to their local communities. I have seen some great Academies which do just that. What I worry about is that having “Academy-status” gives headteachers a great many more freedoms about admissions, SEN pupils, exclusions, curriculum and also allow them to hide from the public what is going on in the school. They are more secretive places than maintained schools. Furthermore, overwhelmingly the take-up of the new Academy status has been by schools in wealthy areas, intent upon going their own way. A great report by Barnados, Unlocking The School Gates (http://www.barnardos.org.uk/unlocking_the_gates.pdf) shows that when schools are their own admissions authorities real unfairness happens with admissions, with the wealthy schools grabbing the well-off students and schools that are struggling getting the socially deprived students. We need local supervision of things like admissions to give everyone a good chance. Everyone is entitled to a good local school.

    from francisgilbert

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