Academies are schools that are run by a private sponsor. They are outside of the local family of schools, not accountable to the local community, allowed to set their own curriculum and terms and conditions for staff. The Anti Academies Alliance opposes the government’s Academies programme and believes we need ‘a good school for every child’. The TUC, NASUWT, NUT, ATL, UCU, UNISON, UNITE, GMB, PCS, MU and FBU are affiliated to the Anti Academies Alliance.
The Academies Bill is a savage attack on the education system in this country. It is an attempt to destroy a democratic, planned, state education system and replace it with a two tier, market driven collection of independent schools at the mercy of education companies driven by profit.
Currently most schools work as part of the Local Authority. This is led by elected councillors. At the moment most schools are run by a head teacher working with a group of school governors, some of whom are appointed by the Local Authority, others are elected by parents or staff.
Whatever its weaknesses, this system has many benefits:
*It allows planning for school demand according to population developments.
*It allows for co-ordinated teacher training and development, Special Educational Needs, Early Years teaching, and much more.
*It means there is co-operation between schools over pupil admissions and exclusions.
*Governors and councillors are elected. Their decisions can be, and have been, challenged at elections.
Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath And Education Minister wants to rip this up.
He wants every ‘Outstanding’ school to become an Academy. This would introduce a two tier education system, where the schools deemed most successful would be independent from their Local Authority, while Local Authorities would be left with the schools that needed most help. It would be a return to the Grammar school / Secondary Modern era where some pupils were considered a success, and others as ‘factory fodder’ to receive a basic education.
Currently schools belong to the whole community. The Academies Bill proposes that schools can become Academies simply by a vote of the governors – no consultation with parents, teachers, support staff or the local community. Why should such a small group of people be allowed to decide the future of our schools?
Academies are not democratic. They are not accountable to the Local Authority, so they are not accountable to the public. Their governors are appointed, not elected. Academies are not covered by Freedom of Information legislation.
Staff Terms and Conditions. Every Academy can set their own terms and conditions. This proposal will see the end of national negotiations, with headteachers and governors setting pay and conditions school by school.
Is there extra money? The only extra money available for schools that opt to become academies will be taken from money the local authority holds centrally for support services. Each new academy will get its share of this money and the central fund will be reduced accordingly.The Academy would then have to buy in the services currently supplied by the Local Authority.
Improving Standards? This will introduce brutal competition into the education system. The Tories believe that this will drive up standards. The same thing was done in Sweden in the 1990s. Per Thulberg, director general of the Swedish National Agency for Education, says “This competition between schools that was one of the reasons for introducing the new schools has not led to better results.”.
One of the most respected international bodies that measures student performance is TIMMS – Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. In 2007 TIMMS reported on trends in average scores from 1995 to 2007. Its conclusions make interesting reading.Do Academies get better Grades? Gove claims that “Over a third of academies with GCSE results in 2009 have seen an increase of more than 15 percentage points”. He forgets to mention that of the 74 Academies which have entered pupils for GCSE’s for 2 or more years, a third have seen their results fall.
Who will run the Academies? Existing Academy chains, and Edu-businesses are lining up to take over our schools. The biggest Academy chain in England is ULT. The government told them they could have no more Academies after Ofsted failed their 2 Academies in Sheffield.
In 2002 Edison USA was caught in the stock market meltdown, with its shares plummeting from over $21 to under $1. The company solved this by selling off its books, computers, lab equipment and musical instruments! Edison are already running schools in England
32 schools have become Academies another 150 have applied. This is a major setback as Michael Gove had expected thousands to apply. Opposition to Academies runs across the education system. All the education unions oppose Academies and ‘Free’ schools. The National Governors Association, National Association of Head Teachers, National Grammar Schools Association, the Catholic Church, and the Church of England have all raised major concerns with the Academies proposals.
Save Our Schools in Surrey. There are 400 junior and secondary schools in Surrey. One junior school has already become an academy school. Nine secondary schools are set to become academies in April. Under present legislation once a school becomes an academy there is no way back.
Teachers in a school in Derby have already gone on strike against their school becoming an academy. Teachers, students and parents should prepare to support this type of action here in Surrey. A Save Our Schools in Surrey campaign is being launched by local unions and Save Our Services in Surrey. For details of the campaign in Surrey email: email@example.com
Visit the National Anti Academies Alliance web site: http://www.antiacademies.org.uk/Home
You can contact Michael Grove, the Education Minister and MP for Surrey Heath by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone his constituency office: 01276 472468.