Monday, 13 June 2016

Academisation is a misnomer. It offers nothing

A teacher friend just asked me what were my first three objections to academisation. Here are the first five, off the top of my head:
Objection 1 is philosophical and political. Education should be a public service, publicly accountable. Schools and headteachers who go into “academisation" often go in thinking they will minimise the damage, to jump before they are pushed [doing the government's dirty work for them] and then find it goes pear-shaped. No longer protected by the council , heads get sacked, and then the vultures arrive. Dedicated teachers who are prepared to take on the challenge that is headship find that their career ends at the point that they should have arrived.

Objection Number 2. 10%  of a school’s designated funding that usually comes out a school’s notional allocation, goes to the council which then runs its supportive education services. So when a school has a student with a hearing impairment, for example, specialist teachers are employed and available; when a school would like to try out a samba band for a year, tuition and instrument hire is available, and there is a specialist; when there is a crisis there is response [eg in the very sad case of Anne Maguire’s murder, trained bereavement counsellors were on hand]. If all schools in one city are academies, then these services can’t survive.

Objection Number 3. Recent history show us that time and time again, privately run schools  [misleadingly called academies] leads to corruption, not only to corruption but the lowering of standards. Staff morale dips, staff turnover increases, children lose that regular “I taught your sister” thing. Behaviour gets worse.; attainment dips, Desperate to save their school from ignomy, desperate to protect their pay, teachers who would never have willingly taught the barmier parts of the national curriculum, now find that being a "maverick" is a career threatening activity.

Objection Number 4. For the staff,  we now lose the “Burgundy book”. Teachers don’t have to be qualified, don’t have to be paid properly, and all those rights that teachers fought for over the years.

Objection Number 5. Academies don’t need to cooperate with other schools in the area. They may be stand alone; they may belong to a chain whose headquarters are in some distant town. Whatever, they now can set their holidays whenever they like, so parents can find that their children off school at different times [holiday planning, worktime planning?]. Schools compete for their intake. Isn't co-operation a better way?
Academisation is a misnomer; it has nothing to offer. And if teachers can't stand up for themselves and for their pupils and parents, then who can?

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