The news that the Government intends to try and force some 16,000 schools to become academies by 2022, while also removing the requirement that parents should have places on governing bodies and watering down the role of universities in training teachers, is staggering. Even if a case can be made for interfering in the governance of schools that are not successful where they have been overseen by weak local authorities there can be no justification for forcing successful schools in successful local authorities to hand themselves (and their assets) over to multi academy trusts against the wishes of the head teacher, school staff and the parents of children at the school and even against the wishes of the school’s governing body.
You will have seen some of the press coverage of responses to the proposals and, of course, will be aware that not a single school of the more than 70 schools in Brighton & Hove has ever voluntarily converted to an academy. In fact the city has only three academies. There have also been hugely successful campaigns in the city against proposals to convert schools to academies – most famously the Hands Off Hove Park School campaign but also at Varndean School. And you might be interested to know that Brighton & Hove is the most improved Local Authority in the country for GCSE results (http://schoolsweek.co.uk/gcses-2015-local-authority-analysis-who-did-well-and-who-did-badly/).
Forced academies are not needed and more academies not wanted in our city.
We are in the process of working with parents involved in the Hove Park Campaign, the Varndean School campaign, the NUT in the city and Sussex, staff from the University of Brighton’s School of Education, Trades Council and Unison officers and supporters of the Campaign for Education in Brighton & Hove to organise a meeting to put pressure on politicians to defend our schools and to support school head teachers, staff, parents and governors who do not wish their school to be forced to become an academy. Please watch our twitter feed for more details.
In the meantime: please sign this national petition against forced academies if you haven’t done so already: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124747 And have a look at the map associated with the petition that shows a very high number of residents of Brighton & Hove are opposed to the proposals to force all schools to become academies.
If you read this before Wednesday March 23rd and you can get to London on that day, a lobby of the Department for Education, Great Smith Street, Westminster, has been called for 5pm by a number of London NUT branches. We also know that this matter will be discussed at the NUT conference (that happens to take place in Brighton) later this month.
For more information on these proposals -that will be disastrous for schools and children – please look at the websites of the NUT, the Anti Academies Alliance, the Local Schools Network and the Socialist Education Association. Here are the links: