Thoughts on academy schools?(10 Posts)
Does anyone know anything about ALL schools becoming academies? i found this www.interact-parliament.uk as i want to know more before i get involved with the big PTA backlash at our school.
I guess I wanted to find out opinions from those who have children in academies currently.
Even though this current thread has a slightly different starting point, it's ended up discussing the academisation process in the round. You might find it worth a look:
Sorry AuntieStella, I don't understand. I am just trying to get my head around the subject because clearly there is alot of feeling about it at our school for certain.
sbmaker - academies as a group are no better or no worse than non-academies. They range from Outstanding to Inadequate just like non-academies do.
The difference is that academies are supposed to have more 'freedom' than non-academies. But the truth is that non-academies can do most things academies can do. Academies can, in theory, opt out of the national curriculum. But that's not very likely because the DfE has said the best way for schools to prepare pupils for Key Stage 2 tests is to follow the national curriculum. Academies do have a couple of dubious freedoms - they can hire unqualified people to teach and they can opt out of school meal standards.
With these 'freedoms' come a lot of administrative, financial and legal burdens. Academies are run by trusts which are both charities and companies so they have to abide by Charity and Company Law. Big academies might be able to cope alone but small schools don't have the staff or expertise. These small schools are likely to join multi-academy trusts (MATs). But there's already evidence that academies in MATs don't have as much freedom as non-academies because decisions are made centrally by the MAT trustees.
The Government's hoping there'll be a tipping point at which schools will feel academy conversion is inevitable and they'd rather jump before being pushed. This creates fear, and fear is NOT what you want in an education system.
And just in case you're wondering why the Government is so keen for all schools to become academies, it's because academies are technically 'independent'. They can, if they wish, outsource their running to a for-profit provider. Ex-Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said in 2010 before the election that he would let groups like Serco run schools. I wrote about it here (there's a link to the YouTube clip of him saying it) www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2011/10/gove-is-in-favour-of-profit-making-companies-running-state-schools/%23sthash.hzb5uyax.dpuf.
There is more to this academies bill than meets the eye.....all schools must join an academy chain or Multi Academy Trust and this is where accountability begins to get hazy. If you look at Ark academy chain you will see that 5 of the 9 trustees are hedge fund managers. The others are some sort of businesses. They are hoping to make lots of money from ancillary services - buying in pre-prepared lessons, consultancy work etc from partner companies. They are not required to employ qualified staff. At the moment most do because otherwise they wouldn't be able to recruit staff who could get paid on national salary scales in a local authority school However, once all are academies, they will be able to remove all pay and conditions for teachers. My children were at an academy where the head employed her friend to run the finances - he wasn't qualified. They both ended up getting sacked but we parents were able to call upon our parent governors when the situation got so bad most of the staff left within two years. This will not be possible in a MAT because the government now say they don't have to have parent governors....they can just be appointed by the MAT....sorry but I smell a rat!!!
I just thought you might be interested in the other current thread, as (despite it not being terribly obvious from its title) it covers what you are asking about. Only a suggestion.
Many thanks AuntieStella and cejay for your replies.I had a read through the other link and it feels like something fishy is happening. I hate the politics played with our education system.
You might find this thread useful also.
The title is misleading as it is not, in the event, a continuation thread, but contains a lot of useful links.
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