Academies

(73 Posts)
KatharineH Wed 03-Jun-15 16:43:50

''The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, has vowed to “sweep away bureaucratic and legal loopholes” obstructing the takeover of as many as 1,000 struggling local authority schools in England and their rapid conversion into academies.''

''Today’s landmark bill will allow the best education experts to intervene in poor schools from the first day we spot failure. It will sweep away the bureaucratic and legal loopholes previously exploited by those who put ideological objections above the best interests of children,” Morgan said.''
As well as 'failing' schools, it would be for 'coasting' schools, I suppose those who are 'in need of improvement'.

I think that it is for ideological reasons that this government is seeking to take out every school from local authority control.

What do others think? Has your school been improved by being an academy? Or have you had other experiences?

ragged Wed 03-Jun-15 18:40:53

Are academies run by ideologues, is that the idea, to hand education over to zealots or people who think they can make a brand out of their flavour if education?

OddBoots Wed 03-Jun-15 18:46:43

Clearly the best answer to failing schools is to make them less accountable. hmm

At least it means the government can wash their hands of failing schools more quickly without any pesky objections from the heads, teachers, parents and wider community.

fairgame Wed 03-Jun-15 18:49:43

We've got failing academies in our area so what do they propose to do about that?

MrsUltracrepidarian Wed 03-Jun-15 19:02:10

If the Local Authority has let a school fail they are not up to the job of overseeing it. Amazes me that parents are so keen that nothing should be done about failing schools. If you were designing a school system form scratch, you would not have them supervised by local authorities but by the DfE - which is what happens when they become academies.
Local authorities should stick to street lighting and bin collection, and leave education to education experts.

throckenholt Wed 03-Jun-15 19:30:32

So Local Authority Education departments are not education experts ?

What puzzles me is why are LA schools straight jacketed into the national curriculum, but academies and free schools aren't ? And why don't they have to follow national pay and conditions for teachers ?

And what happens to a failing academy ? Do they get re-academised ?

throckenholt Wed 03-Jun-15 19:31:22

And another thought - what happens to local accountability if schools are not run by the local authority ?

caroldecker Wed 03-Jun-15 19:41:59

The accountability of the school is to its pupils - it doesn't relly have to be accountable to anyone else. Academy schools are accountable to those that matter.

MrsUltracrepidarian Wed 03-Jun-15 19:44:01

precisely - why 'local accountability'???

ragged Wed 03-Jun-15 19:53:15

How are Academies held accountable, and who holds them accountable?

throckenholt Wed 03-Jun-15 20:01:41

it is always the argument for local authority stuff - local decisions taken for local reasons by local people.

If social care is locally managed, why not education ?

I think the idea is local issues dealt with locally, national parliament for national issues. So national government set the bigger picture, and local services implement it to address local issues.

There is also an argument that a Local Authority will take decisions for the good of all schools in an area (and pool resources), whilst an academy (or free school) will only care about it's own (or at most it's chain of academies).

What powers do the pupils (and the majority parents, or staff) have in the management of a school ?.

straggle Wed 03-Jun-15 21:13:56

There's no evidence that sponsored academies are more likely to improve than LA maintained ones. In fact, quite the opposite for primaries.

In some parts of the country they can't even find new sponsors when they've been wanting one - in Bradford they've been looking for years to get a sponsor for one school. They have seven sponsored secondary academies but five of them are 'requires improvement' or inadequate'. There may be plenty of US edubisinesses wanting to flog their patented curriculum in London and the South East but not where they truly need school improvement. That's the problem with making it into a market dictated by the suppliers and ignoring the users.

mrz Wed 03-Jun-15 21:48:03

Fair game if an academy fails it's re academised with new management and sponsors. Some have gone through the process a number of times.

TalkinPeace Wed 03-Jun-15 22:39:24

What happens when an academy chain has its head in the sand about its failing schools?

How are academy chains held accountable when they are utterly non transparent?

KatharineH Wed 03-Jun-15 23:05:11

I would like all state schools to remain in local authority control. But out of the two secondary schools I would consider for DS2, they are both academies. One is an academy supported by the LA, and one is a grammar school converted into an academy.

So I understand that academies can be the best option. But I would still like most schools to maintain local contacts and accountability.

prh47bridge Wed 03-Jun-15 23:47:20

What happens when an academy chain has its head in the sand about its failing schools?

I don't know why you keep asking this question. You've been told the answer many times. If a school is failing and the sponsor is not taking effective action to improve it the school will be moved to a different sponsor. It has happened to a number of schools.

caroldecker Wed 03-Jun-15 23:56:29

What happens when a non-academy school fails? The LEA which let it fail remains in charge. Surely this is a recipe for continued poor performance.

neolara Thu 04-Jun-15 00:11:10

Our catchment school is part of a multi-academy trust for the last 10 years and has been "requires improvement" for all of that time. It hasn't solved it's problems at all.

Academies are meant to be held to account by their governing body. Which is fine if the governing body is any good. However, if it isn't, then the academy is accountable to no-one. The DfE don't have the resources to monitor and support academies in any meaningful way. One chair of governors of an academy told me her school had contacted the Department of Education to ask them a question about somethign pretty major. It took 18 MONTHS for the question to be answered. Regional commissioners have been recently been introduced who are meant to monitor academies and support those in trouble. There are 8 of them in England supported by a further 8 people, so obviously they are in a fantastic position to provide meaningful monitoring and support to the 4,400+ academies and 100+ free schools (figures true of Jan 2015) in England.

The regional commissioner hasn't done anything about our local failing academy. Lack of accountability in academies and free schools is a very considerable issue IMO.

Clavinova Thu 04-Jun-15 08:54:28

neolara 'The regional commissioner hasn't done anything about our local failing academy.'

If your local academy is rated 'requires improvement' then it's not a 'failing school' more a 'coasting school.' Ofsted's guidance on monitoring schools requiring improvement published in Jan 2015 makes the point that, 'schools requiring improvement in order to become good or outstanding are not schools causing concern.' Currently Ofsted will inspect and support schools requiring improvement but only every 24 months - that's it at the moment I'm afraid - I think I read there are 3,500 schools requiring improvement.

rabbitstew Thu 04-Jun-15 11:52:30

It's all a load of bollocks - as with everything, government wastes money destroying existing structures and creating what looks suspiciously like a poorly controlled free-for-all; lots of the free-for-all creations are a huge waste of public money (rebranding, new uniforms, pretending everything is different when actually the only thing that has really changed is the name of the school and the loss of Local Authority oversight), so ultimately, more and more money is spent on finding ways to oversee them, until you have a monstrous bureaucracy that is even worse than the one you got rid of, because you didn't plan any proper structure into the process in the first place, just reacted to the mess you made with more and more checks, changes and disruption. And most of the people involved in the whole mess are the same people that used to work for the Local Authority, anyway, except now they are more expensive, like agency staff are more expensive for the NHS, because now they are more interested in the income side of their service than the public service side of their service... grin

rabbitstew Thu 04-Jun-15 11:55:21

Those in central government know b*gger all about local government, anyway. They also know b*gger all about the contractors being used to replace local government services. All central government knows how to do is blame everyone else for any mess created.

throckenholt Thu 04-Jun-15 13:55:48

what the hell is a failing school ? Is it a school that hasn't managed to gets its kids to jump through the right set of hoops for ofsted and the govt ? Maybe it (for whatever reason) - has a high proportion of students that don't easily fit in the limited vision. Maybe it is a failure of the expectation rather than failure of achievement.

To some extent the "failure" is down to the school population who is not being well served by the education system, rather than a failure of management to run the system well. Whether local authority, or academy, or free school there are places with specific populations who don't fit the current approach to education. Those who can, move their kids to something that fits them better, but those that can't just get stuck in the "failure". And being labelled a failure doesn't help much either.

I think we need to be far more imaginative about how to fit all kids best for adult life - not just the narrow view outlined by gcse etc.

rabbitstew Thu 04-Jun-15 14:17:14

''Today’s landmark bill will allow the best education experts to intervene in poor schools from the first day we spot failure." Who is "we"? And who are "the best education experts"?

Underfunded local authorities can't really afford to oversee schools any more, anyway... Pay less tax and cut back on public services and what do you expect? Something well run?? grin

TalkinPeace Thu 04-Jun-15 15:00:38

prh
I don't know why you keep asking this question. You've been told the answer many times.
I've been told the theoretical answer many, many times, usually by you.
But the evidence for it is distinctly lacking.

Nicky Morgan does not know what to do with Failing Academies : that much was clear on the telly interview.

There is no evidence that Academies make anything better.
In fact there is evidence that reducing transparency, oversight and accountability in all areas of the public sector makes things WORSE

throckenholt Thu 04-Jun-15 16:58:23

''Today’s landmark bill will allow the best education experts to intervene in poor schools from the first day we spot failure."

No reason why this couldn't have happen with an LA school - just will and funding I guess. If the government really wanted that to happen they would have enabled it for all schools long before now.

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