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Mumsnet made the news again!!!

(27 Posts)
shazzarooney99 Mon 21-Mar-16 20:27:26

The education secretary, Nicky Morgan, has come under fire from furious parents on Mumsnet following a guest post in which she defended government plans to force all schools to become academies.

Hundreds of parents responded to the post which went up on Friday after the publication of the education white paper and has continued to attract comments since.

Reaction from contributors was almost uniformly hostile, condemning the plans as “horrifying” and Morgan’s post as “patronising”. Many said they had signed a petition calling on the government to scrap its plans to turn all schools into academies.

There are now two separate petitions challenging the government’s policy for all schools to become academies. Both have attracted more than 100,000 signatures and a mass rally is planned for this Wednesday.
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While the majority of Mumsnet contributors opposed forced academisation, others criticised government plans to scrap mandatory parent-governors; some raised concerns about children with special education needs, while the proposal for “a parent portal” as a means of giving parents a voice in the education of their child was ridiculed.

Morgan has previously done two webchats with the high-profile parenting website, one as minister for women and more recently in her capacity as education secretary in the run-up to the general election, both of which passed without incident.

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO, said on Monday: “I knew that there were mixed feelings about academies on Mumsnet, but we were quite surprised by the strength of the reaction to Nicky Morgan’s guest post.”

The education secretary wrote in her post that she wanted to explain what academisation meant and why she thought it was the best way forward. “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.

“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.”
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“What a load of absolute crap,” responded one contributor known as mercifulTehlu. “If I were even considering voting Tory next time, this above all else would stop me. Paying big bosses of academy chains hundreds of thousands of pounds while being unwilling or unable to recruit, pay and retain qualified and experienced teachers? No thanks.”

“Complete and utter rubbish,” said GingerIvy. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for peddling this as an improvement for children’s educations.”

“I am struggling to write something that wouldn’t earn me a deletion,” said yesterdayoncemore. “There is so much wrong with the white paper, I don’t even know where to start. Gove, Morgan and the Conservatives have ruined my children’s futures.”

There were many teachers among the commentators. “As a KS1 teacher and a parent to a three-year-old I’m seriously depressed with how our education system has changed over the years and this is the final nail in the coffin,” said ILoveMyMonkey.

“Nicky, you should be ashamed of what you are doing to our schools and for ruining thousands of children, and future children’s, education!”

Another wrote: “I am an experienced teacher of a core subject. I have moved overseas with my three children. You have put us in a position where emigration is a far superior option for my family than working or learning in the UK education system,” said ravenAK.

And from BettyBusStop: “Nobody believes you, Nicky. Do you even believe this nonsense yourself? Nobody thinks schools are perfect as they are, but forcing academisation on them is not going to improve matters.”

While the tone of the Mumsnet thread was predominantly hostile to the government’s academisation plans, there was at least one contributor who repeatedly challenged some of the negative responses.
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PrettyBrightFireflies defended multiple academy trusts, saying they were not all remote, faceless corporations. “I’ve worked with schools with failing MATs, successful first-wave converter MATs, free schools, federations, foundations and community schools. Not all MATs have been successful. But neither have LAs and they’ve had a lot longer to get it right.”

In another post, PrettyBrightFireflies, whose job is to provide strategic training and development in schools, said there were more wasteful failing local authorities than effective, good-value ones.

Asked by another contributor whether the plan to force all schools to become academies was a good idea that would improve the education of children, PrettyBrightFireflies said: “It might be. We just don’t know. But something has to change. It can’t stay as it is.”

Asked to respond to the Mumsnet discussion, a Department for Education spokesperson said:

“Every parent deserves to know their child is getting an excellent education, and they rightly want information about what these changes mean for them. We are determined to make sure every child has access to the best opportunities and to help them grow into well-rounded adults.

“Too many children are not getting the education they deserve and for too long parents have been an afterthought in our education system. Pupils are already benefiting hugely from the academies programme and thanks to our reforms more of them than ever before are going to good or outstanding schools.”

nlondondad Mon 21-Mar-16 23:09:42

"for too long parents have been an afterthought in our education system" .

Which explains, no doubt. the decision to end elected Parent Governors.....

nlondondad Mon 21-Mar-16 23:12:08

" more of them than ever before are going to good or outstanding schools.”

The great majority of which, by simple arithmetic are NOT Academies.....

sportinguista Tue 22-Mar-16 06:03:21

I don't think it will change their minds sadly. I felt horribly sad at the look of resignation on my DS lovely head teacher's face.

It will be a lot of upheaval for what?

Still we got our views out there.

BeStrongAndCourageous Tue 22-Mar-16 06:10:11

So where's this rally taking place then?

Washediris Tue 22-Mar-16 06:44:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thecatisatwat Tue 22-Mar-16 13:39:45

Yes Washed, I agree. Our school has announced that it is forming a church academy with other local church schools (whatever the fuck that is). It is fully taxpayer funded yet somehow taxpayers will have absolutely no say in the way it is run. I don't think the government give a toss who runs schools so long as it isn't run by local councils. If the local council isn't involved who do you take complaints to, the local bishop maybe?

nlondondad Tue 22-Mar-16 14:55:37


Because(it would seem) you have experience of a democratically elected parent Governor, who was not. in your opinion very good (or prepared to represent your particular views?) or perhaps you stood for election and did not get in? you want to abolish elections in favour of the appointment of "experts".

But who shall choose these experts?

Washediris Tue 22-Mar-16 16:42:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nlondondad Tue 22-Mar-16 17:27:30

Washediris you wrote

"Elections are simply a popularity contest and pointless."

Plato would have agreed with you, and so also would the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

nlondondad Tue 22-Mar-16 17:31:05

The thing is some people, like Peter Wilbey in the Guardian today are criticising the proposals as an attack on democracy. At least washediris you are being entirely consistent as you dont seem to think democracy is up to much. Its a point of view....

Washediris Tue 22-Mar-16 17:34:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Washediris Tue 22-Mar-16 17:36:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RoseDeGambrinus Tue 22-Mar-16 17:40:52

London rally info here, by the way

planetarium Tue 22-Mar-16 17:53:54

Elected parent governors are meant to be "representative parents" not "parent representatives" so that's why they don't canvass views.

There's nothing in the education white paper that says parents can't be governors. It says that many have the required skills and play a valuable role. It just means that places won't be reserved for parents just because they're parents - they will need other skills too.

I think a lot of parents will be much more inclined to apply to be a governor if the schools say "we are looking for new governors with skills x,y,z , please apply if interested" than with the current voting system, which is all about how many people know who you are.

Washediris Tue 22-Mar-16 18:06:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anotherbusymum14 Tue 22-Mar-16 18:15:34

Lol, I saw that guest post on MN and thought "whatever!" I was not impressed that they pushed that on here. It seems to just be happening whether people like it or not.

nlondondad Tue 22-Mar-16 18:27:18

I am puzzled that you think washediris and planataerium that your critique of elections as mere" popularity contests" can be confined to the special case of electing parent governors.

Anyway here is an interesting (to me) article about parent governors.

nlondondad Tue 22-Mar-16 18:28:55

Also I would be still interested in an answer to the question, if appointment is to replace election, who makes the appointments?

planetarium Tue 22-Mar-16 18:37:41

It would be the responsibility of the academy trustees, who might delegate it to the local governing body.

It's not a political role so it shouldn't need an election. The trustees are responsible for running the school properly so it is up to them to appoint someone appropriate. If they've got any sense they will look for parents with the right skills whenever possible because they will have a strong vested interest in ensuring the school is well run.

planetarium Tue 22-Mar-16 19:36:13

nlondondad I don't think Sue Macmillan has read the White Paper properly. She says: ^There is nothing wrong with demanding a "skills-based" approach to governance. Effective governance is a key ingredient in the success of any school. But I must have missed the bit where we suddenly assumed that parents don't have skills. What exactly is it about having children that de-skills you, I wonder?^"

She obviously didn't read, or chose to ignore, the next paragraph after the one she was referring to which says "Parents often have these skills and many parents already play a valuable role in governance – and will always be encouraged to serve on governing boards."

nlondondad Tue 22-Mar-16 22:27:48


So your answer to the question "who appoints the experts" is that the Trust Board make the appointment.

So who appoints the Trust Board?

planetarium Tue 22-Mar-16 23:05:39

So who appoints the Trust Board?

The Secretary of State, effectively, through the signing of the funding agreement.

I'm assuming you know who appoints the Secretary of State..... smile

nlondondad Wed 23-Mar-16 15:58:45


It feels as if you are trying to patronise me, or insult my intelligence. If you know as much as you appear to claim to know you will know that the funding agreement has nothing to do with the continuing composition of the board.

Who appoints the Trust Board?

planetarium Wed 23-Mar-16 16:21:29

Who appoints the Trust Board?

Who appoints the Trust Board for every other charitable trust in the country? The trustees of course, in accordance with procedure set out in their Standing Orders, with the Chair probably having a deciding vote in many cases.

If that's ok for other charitable trusts, it should also be ok for Academy Trusts.

And, if it all goes horribly wrong (as it has done in some cases, e.g. the Ipswich Academy) and the Academy Trust fails in its duty to run a successful school then the funding agreement is broken and the Secretary of State can intervene to appoint a new Trust to run the school.

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