Green Councillors have come out strongly over plans announced by Chancellor George Osborne to force all schools to become academies and eliminate the role of local authorities as a provider of education, in the biggest change to education in 50 years.
Proposals were announced in the Conservative governments budget statement today, and follow a longer-term agenda privatisation of education which began under the Labour government in 2002. Brighton and Hove currently has two academies but this latest announcement will convert all schools to academy status by 2022, despite widespread opposition from parents and teachers unions.
Green councillor and Convenor of the Green Group, Phelim Mac Cafferty, said:
“The Conservative agenda for the mandatory academisation of schools will be bad news for children and parents in the city, who have consistently spoken out against this privatisation of children’s futures. Greens were proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with parents to oppose the establishment of an Academy in Hove Park school when in administration. Now, that hard work looks set to be undone.
“There is growing evidence that academies are simply not delivering improved performance or tackling inequality for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a finding just last month that pupils in one of the largest academy trusts, AET, do particularly badly (1). In addition, they have come under significant criticism for the lack of democratic accountability underpinning the system, which has allowed financial mismanagement and poor performance of some academies to go unchecked. This move is the latest in a long standing agenda initiated by the Labour government in 2002, which has sought to transform the education system into little more than an exam factory, narrowing learning to the sole function of preparing children for work.
“This is entirely the wrong approach to school provision and we fundamentally oppose this announcement. Greens’ vision for education is of a system whereby children and adults are given the knowledge and full range of skills they require to participate fully in society and lead a fulfilled life. It should promote equality, inclusivity, social and emotional well-being and responsibility, in schools that are democratically accountable to local communities they serve”.