Government in retreat over academies

Nicky Morgan and David Cameron have plunged our education system into crisis. Public confidence our national school system is crumbling, and the ultimate responsibility for this lies with the Secretary of State.

However, the government’s fixation with removing power from local communities and putting it in the hands of Whitehall has been curbed, not by an attack of conscience but by dogged opposition from parents, from teachers and from the Labour Party. It was the campaigning by teachers, parents and Labour activists that caused Tory MPs to threaten to rebel against the government. We must be ready to mobilise again; Nicky Morgan has said her goal has not changed. High performing schools won’t be forced to become academies, rural schools will be protected from closure, but her ‘ambition’ for academisation is unchanged.

Lucy Powell has written to Nicky Morgan and asked that no school will be forced to become an academy based on the results of recent SATs test. As a result of the recent events, these tests do not have the confidence of parents and the public. Answers being posted online & children being kept away from school mean that to force change on the basis of these results would be increasingly misguided. Ian urges the minister to issue a cast iron guarantee that these tests will not be used as a pretext to force structural change.

Instead of demoralising public servants and embarking on needless structural reforms, the government needs to ensure that the concerns of teachers and parents are listened to and acted upon. This won’t be achieved if the government attempts academisation by stealth, instead they need to focus on solving real issues; class sizes, funding shortfalls and leaked test papers.

Our victory over the government should be celebrated, but the government is currently failing in their duty to provide a world class environment for all children regardless of their background.