EDUCATION QUESTION TIME 2017: March 14th with Kevin Courtney (NUT), Sally Hunt (UCU), Sue Cowley (Education Writer & Blogger), James Williams (Education Lecturer), Councillor Dan Chapman and Catherine Fisher (Parent and Campaigner).

Do we have the education system we want? The funding crisis facing schools has led West Sussex school governors to threaten to strike; in Hastings the local Council, MP and community have expressed serious concerns about the closure of a university centre; in Brighton & Hove – and across the country – parents have expressed their opposition to the over testing of young children while Ofsted, too often, seems to treat schools and colleges simply as exam factories. University students leave their courses owing thousands of pounds while many teachers are leaving the profession and many parents considering if the school they want for their child exists. Further and adult education has faced years of cuts to funding – including to English courses for refugees and asylum seekers – while the influential IFS has criticised the government’s apprenticeship proposals. Over the last ten years, hundreds of thousands of parents, teachers and local councillors (including many in Brighton & Hove) have been vocal in their opposition to forced academies, grammar schools and unneeded free schools and cuts to local authority education services.

What’s going wrong with education and how do we bring about a better system? Come and join parents, teachers, lecturers, school support staff and governors and local councillors and residents discuss what needs to be done.

All welcome. Doors open at 6pm (cafe and networking) for the meeting at 7pm.

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Protect Youth Services in Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove are set to make £800,000 of cuts in the youth service.  The consultation launched just days before councillors vote on the budget can’t be anything but token for more details see this Argus report.

A campaign to protect youth services has been set up and this Sat, 28th January, there is a march to protest at the proposed cuts in the city’s Youth Services.  The march will start at 1pm at the War Memorial in the Old Steine and will end at the train station.

A new free school in Brighton and Hove sponsored by the University of Brighton Academies Trust: what’s the problem?Can it be fixed by parental involvement?

University sponsorship does not safeguard democratic governance or parental engagement. Nor does it suggest a better school than those run by local authorities or even by other academy and free school sponsors (known as Multi Academy Trusts when more than one academy or free school is sponsored).

Free schools and academies both have the legal status of an academy but the term free school is used for newly opened academies, while existing local authority schools which convert are called academies. Both are, by definition, not locally accountable schools. In our experience, parental engagement tends to be greater with local authority schools and even academy heads will say that local authorities interfere rather less in their schools than Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) in their academies and free schools (regardless who set up the MAT). There is now evidence that MATs, including those run by universities, have over-ridden heads and interfered  in the curriculum of free schools and academies.

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