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To not really understand academies and what effects tomorrow's budget will have?

(148 Posts)
BoinkBoink Tue 15-Mar-16 22:06:50

It is suspected that the budget will announce all schools are to become academies..

Can someone explain in very basic terms
1. What is an academy?
2. What are the pros/cons?
3. What is stealth privatisation?
4. Do they really use 'teachers' with no qualifications?
5. What will this mean to parents and children?


Junosmum Tue 15-Mar-16 22:22:20

Yes to number 4. Acadamies are basically schools run by private organizations (sometimes charities, sometimes company's, sometimes businesses and sometimes trusts). They view children as a 'product' with the end 'product' being a pupil who can attain a certain level academically regardless of that pupils person circumstances (Sen, natural intelligence background, home environment etc). As they are run by private organizations they can act like private schools, all be it non-fee paying and can employee pretty much anyone they like to be a teacher.

Junosmum Tue 15-Mar-16 22:23:48

They in my above comment is the government, some academies are obviously more realistic however are confined by national targets.

allthingsred Tue 15-Mar-16 22:24:15

To be quite honest I don't know the difference either. But our local college (its a 3 tier system the college caters for pupils from year 8- 12) became an academy a few years ago & since then we have had at least 6 subjects scrapped off the curriculum (not good when you've had kids already studying for a year for them)
'Teachers' accidently teaching the wrong curriculum (only realised when the children went into the exam room & realised they hadn't read the books being asked about)
many many staff leaving only to have no replacement in place so pupils missing lessons
I could go on with the very very long list.
...It has just been took over by a different college over 30 miles away (we live in the country ) who has had quite a lot of money given to try to raise it's standards, but they have cancelled more subjects although have bought a few benches & new floor in art room!!!
It makes me so angry
The college in question caters for a massive area & if it continues the way it is our children will be having to make 60 miles round trips to the next nearest one its a scandal!! I want to weep for my kids.
We are already thinking of moving because of this.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Tue 15-Mar-16 22:34:54

An academy can be stand alone or part of a multi academy trust (MAT). The MAT is a chain of schools under the same organisation- could be two, three, five or a much bigger number. A stand alone will be a school that becomes an academy on it's own. That's probably going to be less likely in this brave new world.

Academy trusts can share resources, including staff if necessary. They can set their own curriculum and are free from the control of the local authority. Initially there will be additional monetary resource, but I don't know how long that lasts. Trusts will often have a highly paid chief executive and will operate very much on a business model.

They are not obliged to hire staff with QTS- qualified teacher status, so it is possible that unqualified staff will be employed, although hat doesn't necessarily mean they will have no qualifications, just no teaching qualification.

I would be concerned about issues like application criteria. Theoretically, it must be possible for a child to be unable to obtain a place at any school, if all of those applied to insist they have no space or simply refuse to accept a child. The local authority is currently obliged to offer a place, although it may not be one a parent chooses. The local authority will have no place in the education system and will be unable to exert any influence on schools.

As a parent, aside from the application process, you may not notice any great chsnges immediately. Then again you might. It was always mooted that academies would raise standards, but there are failing academies, academies that are in financial difficulty and chief executives who are more interested in the business model and less in the education and progress of children.

I'm glad I left the profession when I did- before it became a data driven business.

RooftopCat Tue 15-Mar-16 22:35:10

Why would a private company want to run a school?
I assume they would get funding from the government to run the school but why would a private company be able to run it much more cost efficiently than the government? Where's the profit?

Foxyloxy1plus1 Tue 15-Mar-16 22:37:28

There's plenty of profit, especially if you're the CEO. Economies of scale, as well .

Griphook Tue 15-Mar-16 22:41:34

It's privatisation of schools by the back door, turning schools into profit making organisation. They are taking the responsibility away from the local authorities and placing it into the care of a private firm.

I believe faith school are allowed to carry on as normal.

WidowWadman Tue 15-Mar-16 22:41:53

If they don't have to follow a curriculum, what does that mean for GCSE's, A-Levels etc? Aren't the exam topics based on a curriculum?

RooftopCat Tue 15-Mar-16 22:44:16

they can set their own curriculum
Surely there is some rules though - something must stop them saying 'right, we're only offering maths and English and one science this year'. And if there a four exam boards (or whatever) then you'd hope they teach to those exams.
I really don't understand the appeal of academies.

RooftopCat Tue 15-Mar-16 22:47:09

How is there potential for loads of profit if the school budgets are so tight at the moment - eg, the PTA funding textbooks etc. Are the local authorities that bad at managing the budgets that a private firm can waltz in and make a profit?

Thatrabbittrickedme Tue 15-Mar-16 22:50:02

Goodness my blood is running cold reading this! So no established curriculum, unqualified teachers and a general relaxing of standards - is this really what we are facing?

Griphook Tue 15-Mar-16 22:50:12

My sons school is turning into an academy, the only monitoring level that there seems to be is the school governors. If you have good ones who challenge each other and aren't hand pick then the school stands a chance. If on the other hand they are all like minded problems won't arise until ofsted visit which is what I believe happened in a Birmingham where girls were being made to sit at the back

Thatrabbittrickedme Tue 15-Mar-16 22:51:00

Also, I find the concept of a company/corporation profiting form educating children utterly abhorrent

OwlinaTree Tue 15-Mar-16 22:51:13

One thing that concerns me is the giving of public opened land to private companies. What is to stop the private companies selling off the playing field for housing?

OwlinaTree Tue 15-Mar-16 22:52:12

Should be owned not opened, sorry.

OwlinaTree Tue 15-Mar-16 22:54:23

Also the idea that a private business can run a school more efficiently. I also agree with a pp regarding applications, there could well be children left with no place if all schools are setting their own criteria.

fourcorneredcircle Tue 15-Mar-16 22:58:11

rooftop they really could offer just maths , English and one sconce if they wanted! This is what is meant by not following national curriculum which currently garubtees all children will study certain subjects - as well as what those subjects. Frightening! And the profit comes from cutting costs elsewhere for example by underpaying staff by 1) not using qualified teachers if they don't want to and/or 2) paying staff very low salaries (compared to previous teacher pay scale), by selling land, by dropping subjects (cutting staffing/resource costs) but narrowing learning.

BoinkBoink Tue 15-Mar-16 22:58:21

This is terrifying...

What are the government citing as the pros to this system?!

Still don't understand where all the money will come from?

fourcorneredcircle Tue 15-Mar-16 22:58:57

Terrible typos... Taken contacts out!

BoinkBoink Tue 15-Mar-16 23:02:23


BoinkBoink Tue 15-Mar-16 23:03:25

I'll be interested to hear the justification of this in tomorrow's budget...

I predict a riot.

bigbluebus Tue 15-Mar-16 23:03:57

DS's old Secondary School made initial enquiries about becoming an Academy a few years ago. They thought long and hard about it and decided to remain as a LA controlled Comprehensive. It is an outstanding school and I'm sure they had a very good reason why they chose not to go down the Academy route. I'm glad they stayed as they were.

RooftopCat Tue 15-Mar-16 23:05:36

That is frightening. I suppose if they are cutting costs then the children who 'cost more' will be managed out. Where will they end up if all schools are academies and don't want them?

fourcorneredcircle Tue 15-Mar-16 23:06:33

Sadly, I predict little reaction, or worse a one sided pro government stance by the mainstream media (such as we saw with junior doctors strikes). I'm do know it's going to help the retention crisis in teaching!

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