I welcome the news that West Sussex County Council, a Conservative-led council, opposes the government’s proposal to make all schools academies by 2022.
Our council clearly shares the widespread unease about this proposal along with parents like myself, teachers, headteachers, those in positions of influence and the wider community.
Two petitions drawn up in direct response to Nicky Morgan’s announced proposal, one calling for a referendum and the other for the plans to be scrapped, each drew well over the required 100,000 signatures in just days.
Unfortunately, the debates that these petitions should trigger will not take place.
Since the first academies were opened by the then Labour government in 2002 and 2003, schools and their leaders have had more than a decade to pursue academy status.
In spite of incentives and pressure to do so, many secondaries remain under local authority oversight along with the vast majority of primaries.
The large number of schools that have refused to become academies is a clear indication that many schools and their leaders value their local authority collaborators and advisers far more than going it alone as an academy, or as part of a business-focused chain.
There is scant evidence that academy status improves outcomes for children and there is no financial advantage in becoming an academy.
Moreover, the enormous cost of making all the remaining schools academies would be misplaced and irresponsible expenditure, when cash-strapped schools are crying out for funding right now.
If Nicky Morgan and her department have the sum required to deliver, then why aren’t they passing it on to schools and our children now rather than investing it in a flawed ideological plan?
I would like to ask all our councillors and MPs to continue to press for Nicky Morgan’s undemocratic
and ill-judged plans to
We don’t need the academy proposal to be kicked in to the long grass, we need it to be thrown out altogether.
Mrs Sarah Maynard
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