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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Fri 18-Mar-16 17:09:13

Guest post: Nicky Morgan - "Why academisation is best for our schools"

While deputy head Tim Paramour argues that turning all schools into academies is a gamble with our children's futures, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says the change will allow every student to fulfil their potential

Nicky Morgan

Education Secretary

Posted on: Fri 18-Mar-16 17:09:13

(999 comments )

Lead photo

"I am a firm believer that an exceptional education transforms children's futures."

As parents, we all want the best for our children. We want to make sure they have access to the best opportunities and to help them grow up into well-rounded adults. Making sure that our children have a high quality education is a key part of that.

I want to outline exactly what academisation means and why I truly believe this is the best way forward for our schools. Our children only have one shot at receiving the best education and I am committed to ensuring this happens as swiftly as possible.

We need to put our trust into the hands of the people that know best how to run our schools - the teachers - and the academy system does just that. This video tells you more about what an academy is. It gives schools greater autonomy to make the decisions that are right for their community and pupils. After all, we have the finest generation of teachers ever and being part of an academy helps put the power back in their hands.

The most recent results show that the percentage of pupils achieving the expected level in reading, writing and maths at the end of Key Stage 2 in primary academies has risen by 4%, from 67% in 2014 to 71% in 2015. Additionally, when it comes to secondary, it's a similar story with converter academies which are performing 7.2% above the national average, with 64.3% of pupils achieving five good GCSEs.

I am committed to making it easier for you as a parent to play an even more active role in your child's education. I want to put young people and parents first – something that might sound obvious, but the truth is that for too long parents have been an afterthought in our education system.


However, a dynamic school system where all schools are academies is just one part of a much wider plan to improve our education system which I set out yesterday in our white paper.

It is every parent's right to know their child is in an excellent school no matter where in the country they live. I am confident that this move will guarantee a higher school standard with each academy held to account for the performance of their pupils.

Ultimately, I am committed to making it easier for you as a parent to play an even more active role in your child's education. In essence, I want to put young people and parents first – something that might sound obvious, but the truth is that for too long parents have been an afterthought in our education system. We want you as parents to have a much stronger voice in what happens to your child during their school years, because we know that you want the very best for your child.

So how are we doing that? Firstly, I am well aware that the education system can appear complex to many parents. I am dedicated to changing this once and for all, and putting the control firmly back in your hands. As a result of this, I plan to introduce a new, online Parents Portal from as early as next year. This portal will enable parents' access to key information and allow you to support your child's learning.

Alongside this, we have changed the curriculum and the way that students will be assessed. This will help to raise standards and make sure that your child leaves school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. It is imperative that every child fulfils their potential, and this includes stretching the most able pupils.

More young people will also study the EBacc - a combination of maths, English, two sciences, a humanity and a language - up to the age of 16. And the exams and qualifications young people are awarded will set a new international gold standard that is respected by employers, helping them to succeed in our increasingly global world.

I am a firm believer that an exceptional education transforms children's futures and everything outlined in this White Paper is committed to ensuring that parents and pupils come first. Our goal must always be to ensure every single child leaves school with the best education and the opportunity to excel in adult life. I believe that together, we can achieve that goal.

By Nicky Morgan

Twitter: @NickyMorgan01

lmza Fri 25-Mar-16 15:27:47

I haven't had the time to read all the comments but has Nicky Morgan responded to any of this?

Mner Wed 23-Mar-16 10:33:17

New thread started

MuddhaOfSuburbia Wed 23-Mar-16 09:30:28

Can someone start another thread quiiiiick

And link at the end of this one if poss? I would but am on my phone aaargh flowers ta very much

Mner Wed 23-Mar-16 09:18:26

She did say it might not be immediately I think because of everything in Brussels but there would be a debate

curluponthesofa Wed 23-Mar-16 08:37:16

Mner - thanks, I will look out for the parliamentary debate although won't be able to get to a computer much today. I am pleased Lucy Powell is wading in at last.

curluponthesofa Wed 23-Mar-16 08:12:30

I think fireflies genuinely believed what she wrote, which she was entitled to post as this is an open free debate, and its always useful to hear another viewpoint.
However it was the altering of the Guardian article that I was shocked by - they were obviously told they hadn't made the article 'balanced' enough (although not really balanced at all as pretty's comments were overrepresented compared to others).

The SEN issue is concerning me. I would like some debate and analysis of what the White Paper means for SEN children. My DS has SEN although not severe enough for a statement. The Local Authority has very transparent admission arrangements, but the Academy schools around here have their own admission criteria which are vague and opaque. I have to apply for secondary for DS in a few years and this is already worrying me. His teacher has told me DS will likely fail the tests for the end of KS1 simply because he cannot produce neat cursive handwriting (he has problems with fine motor skills for which he is getting OT support). Never mind that he is bright, enthusiastic, great language skills and a reading age of a couple of years older. He cannot, through any fault of his own, write neatly yet at the age of 7.
The tests don't take into account SEN or if the child is the youngest in the year or has a difficult home life etc. It's not an issue for me that he will fail the test because I know he tries hard and we are giving him as much support and help as we can. But it doesn't look so good for the school, does it? Will a results-focused Academy want him?

CurrerBell Wed 23-Mar-16 08:05:09

I haven't commented on this thread before but have read every comment. I wonder, could MNHQ keep the thread going beyond 1000 messages? This issue is so important. There must be some legal challenge to what the government are trying to do? I also would like the government to provide some information on how SEN will work in their proposed plans... Nicky Morgan seems to have ignored this issue entirely.

FranHastings Wed 23-Mar-16 08:00:42

The Guardian article now completely misrepresents the feeling of this thread. I actually can't believe it.

TwoLeftSocks Wed 23-Mar-16 07:59:04

if the policy is a good one, then it's good enough to be scrutinised and debated properly

I feel like cross stitching this and sending it to DC to hang in No.10.

TwoLeftSocks Wed 23-Mar-16 07:56:51

Bet they'd do away with our amend criticism on social media if they could.

I worry that fireflies may have outed, (hope she doesn't have problems at work over it) or just been a bit shocked at being quoted in the national media - a reminder that this is a very public forum.

Peregrina Wed 23-Mar-16 07:40:17

I recall that Cameron had plans to make more Tory peers to counteract the lack of inbuilt majority in the Lords. Never mind that there are probably more than enough Lords already, and that he is trying to reduce the number of MPs.

Similarly, having complained about cuts to Oxfordshire County Council services, which cover his own constituency, and being told sharply by the Tory council leader that they were a response to his Governments cuts, the plan now has been mooted to abolish OCC altogether.

It's utterly sickening - if the policy is a good one, then it's good enough to be scrutinised and debated properly.

The only crumb of comfort to me is that we now have Social Media, so it's now not quite so possible to deny having said or done something - as with the article being amended to work in prettybrightfireflies comments - because someone somewhere will have kept the original.

Mner Wed 23-Mar-16 07:25:21

It is so depressing!

rollonthesummer Wed 23-Mar-16 07:17:23

I actually feel a bit sick reading that news story. The conservatives don't like the fact that members of the public can stop their self-serving laws from being passed, so they are simply going to take away the veto power of the Lords. It's total stropping about not getting their own way.

Take away the Lords's veto, take away the trade unions voice, make the plebs go to academies taught by unqualified teachers where are we going here...?

Devilishpyjamas Wed 23-Mar-16 07:12:43

This government are so undemocratic. It's frightening.

rollonthesummer Wed 23-Mar-16 07:10:50

The Lords might not actually get a chance to stop it!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35875212

Do we live in a democracy?!

I'm also appalled that article was altered to include fireflies comments-800 comments of questions and members of the public saying this was a bad idea and they report an unrealistic % of positive comments?!

Looks like there's not a freedom of press either.

noblegiraffe Wed 23-Mar-16 07:09:38

Devilish, I know. Policy Exchange are really influential in education so I suspect that essay was read by Nicky. What's interesting is that she didn't use his arguments which at least sound like a case, but went for 'academies are better' which is nonsense, and he didn't include academies are better as an argument because they're not.

antiqueroadhoe Wed 23-Mar-16 07:05:37

"What parents reeeeeally want..." I can hear the debate now 🙄

Mner Wed 23-Mar-16 06:49:02

Lucy Powell has tweeted that they are going to be talking about the issue in parliament soon.

Devilishpyjamas Wed 23-Mar-16 06:37:30

Noblegiraffe - the author of that TES piece is head education. of this Think Tank en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy_Exchange

Explains a lot about his views.

Devilishpyjamas Wed 23-Mar-16 06:30:23

Not necessarily anything to do with pretty, but interesting that someone has seen fit to edit it to include the other side (despite the pretty much unanimous opinion of mumsnetters). Of course pretty doesn't need links to ToryHQ - once someone (who?) decided some positive comments had to go on the pretty' were the only ones available.

Devilishpyjamas Wed 23-Mar-16 06:26:53

Very interesting curlup......

derxa Wed 23-Mar-16 06:20:50

Has anyone noticed that prettybrightfireflies, after posting on this thread almost constantly, has gone very quiet? Yes. How interesting. hmm

antiqueroadhoe Wed 23-Mar-16 06:16:05

curlup yes you're spot on. Of course they have been asked to add in support, because the only other change to the article is the addition of the DofE's pathetic and pithy and meaningless statement about what all parents want. Of course pretty is the only person who agrees with the policy (probably someone from within the "think tank") and gets no less than three separate quotations in the article. <rolls eyes>

Peregrina Tue 22-Mar-16 23:37:55

I had noticed that prettybrightfireflies had gone quiet. I am not impressed by the think tank man's arguments either.

If turning all schools into Academies is the way to go, then let's hear some robust arguments for them. Let's hear which MATs have been successful, and at the same time, we also need to see their exclusion figures, just for a starter. Let's have some realistic costings. Yes, it's expensive running two systems, so why not scrap the Academies programme?

It will be very ironic though, if this issue only gets a proper airing when its debated in the Lords, i.e. an unelected body.

I can see what will happen - it will be implemented, it will be a mess, and the Tories will blame Labour for as long as they can, followed by another costly reorganisation in a few years time.

curluponthesofa Tue 22-Mar-16 23:26:29

Bridget that's great, well done.

Has anyone noticed that prettybrightfireflies, after posting on this thread almost constantly, has gone very quiet?
There's another strange thing. The Guardian article 'Nicky Morgan under fire on mumsnet' which first came out on Monday, has been edited since. In the first version prettybrightfireflies was not mentioned. It was later amended to include her comments.
I only realised because when I read it the first time I was looking to see which comments they'd used (not at all looking for my own posts, of course....grin) I read the article again today and noticed it had been amended to include pretty's posts. (Fortunately the Internet rather handily caches websites, so I checked the cached page to make sure I didn't imagine this). Do you think Nicky's press office leaned on the Guardian to include some comments in favour of academies? It's a bit unfair though as pretty was a lone (if frequent) voice in favour.

The cached article from Monday:
web.archive.org/web/20160321174540/http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/21/nicky-morgan-under-fire-over-mumsnet-post-on-academisation

The current article:
www.theguardian.com/education/2016/mar/21/nicky-morgan-under-fire-over-mumsnet-post-on-academisation

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