Friday, 12 June 2015

Morning Star letter on academies

The decision by the Tory government to force through the academisation of  apparently struggling local authority schools in England is worrying on so many accounts (Morning Star, 0406/15) As you reported, 46% of academies have been branded as "requires improvement" or "inadequate", and the Commons Education Committee found no evidence to show that academic standards are better in academies than other state schools. This decision, therefore, has to be political rather than educational, with the eventual objective being "full school privatisation", as stated by Christine Blower of the NUT.
 Also of concern is that there appear to be no plans to deal with, or even acknowledge the existence of, "struggling" academies, whose employment of unqualified teachers on low pay is clearly part of the government plan for education on the cheap. No mention, either, of how this might affect students` aspirations!
    What is disturbing, too, is that the future of these state schools will be based on what can justly be described as random judgements made by Ofsted inspectors, whose accuracy in assessing schools is increasingly being questioned by experienced educationalists. Then there are the problems of exacerbating both the pressure on teaching staff, with many experiencing 60 hour weeks already, and on retaining and recruitment in the profession.
 The timing of the announcement, of course, is deliberate: the feeble opposition, provided to Gove`s unnecessary upheaval of examinations and curricula, by Labour`s spokespersons on education will undoubtedly be continued, with the party`s leadership candidates more concerned with bickering over their pro-business credentials. Burnham says he supports comprehensive education, but will he come out in favour of industrial action by teachers to save it?

Clearly we can expect a rush of contentious announcements from this duplicitous government, whilst Labour lacks cohesion and direction; forcing through unpopular legislation, which failed to appear in election manifestos, appears to be a habit the Tories have no intention of breaking.

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