Proposals for Academies in Leicester
Readers of Leicester Mercury will have been as surprised as everyone else when it was revealed that Leicester City Council was considering having three more City Academies.
The schools at risk are current community secondary schools: Riverside, Fullhurst and Babington.
If they became Academies, as privately run, state funded schools, they can act as their own admissions authorities and use selection if they so choose. They are also not bound by the Freedom of Information Act.
Possible sponsors for any Academies include the city council plus Leicester University, De Montfort University and Leicester College.
Teachers' Consultative Committee Secretary, Peter Flack said, "This came out of the blue. I spoke to Gary Garner from Unison and neither of us had been told this was planned."
Nationally, UCU and the NUT have been developing a campaign against privatisation and there has been strike action against Academies in both Bolton and Derby.
Local teachers' unions have already made clear their total opposition to Academies. Following a statement to the press by Lord Adonis stating, "it is not the case that Academies or Trust schools are being imposed in Leicester", the Support Our schools Campaign will be writing to Lord Adonis to insist that he does not renege on this assurance.
We want collaborative, local solutions to Leicester's challenges, not top down bullying from Ministers in Westminster. The council needs to be brave for once and keep faith with promoting the virtues of local expertise and good practice.
NUT Officers Meeting with Sir Peter Soulsby
Sir Peter Soulsby MP
On June 16th a group of NUT officers, along with other members of the support our schools campaign, met with Sir Peter Soulsby MP, the patron of the support our schools campaign.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold: Firstly, to inform Sir Peter about the current initiatives that the campaign is supporting in terms of the Transforming Leicester's Learning (TLL) Action Plan. It was also to alert him to our concerns about the threat from government to impose a number of privately run Academy schools on Leicester.
Sir Peter had previously had a meeting with Vi Dempster (Cabinet spokesperson for CYPS) and David Kershaw, the lead officer on the Action plan and Strategy for Change.
The officers explained the emerging collaborative model that Leicester was promoting. Stress was placed on the importance of drawing on local expertise and sharing of good practice across the city.
It was pointed out that fragmenting local education by introducing Academies and Trust schools would hinder this type of collaboration. There was general agreement that what was needed was a set of proposals for the future that met Leicester's needs rather than one that set out to satisfy dogmatic ideological demands.
We argued that what was being developed in Leicester, by schools and the LA through the TLL Action Plan, was an alternative model of school improvement. This could be hugely beneficial, not only to Leicester's schools but to other authorities around the country trying to tackle the legacy of social deprivation.
Sir Peter plans to talk to Ministers in the near future and has promised to keep us informed of any developments and hopes to be able to chair our next public meeting. A date for this is being negotiated with the Local Authority.
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