You Get Academies Whether You Want Them Or Not
Academies are the greatest threat to a national system of education locally administered since its foundation in the 1944 Education Act.
Last December Tony Blair announced the government's intention to open 400 academies by 2010. At an average cost of £35m each they will lead to more than £14bn worth of publicly owned resources being transferred into the hands of private sponsors.
Local authorities currently face an invidious choice. If they include an academy in their bid for future funding under the Building Schools for the Future programme, it will be built with no charge to the authority but at a £35m cost to the taxpayer. So a new school comes 'free' to a local authority if it is an academy, but at a huge cost if it is not. Headteachers and local authorities have made it clear that they do not want academies, but they are being pressured and bribed into accepting them.
We are concerned by academies for the following reasons:
• they are not part of the maintained sector and are therefore not bound by national pay and conditions or previous local agreements;
• the sponsor controls the governing body and the curriculum;
• their foundation involves transferring on average £35m out of the public sector;
• whilst some academies have proved popular, the effect on their neighbours has been disastrous, and so they have a negative impact overall.
This disgraceful situation must continue to be challenged. The Anti-Academies Alliance is working with an increasing number of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and will be holding a commission of inquiry into academies at the House of Commons in June. It also runs an informative website (www.antiacademies.org.uk).
What can you do?
Ken Purchase, Labour MP for Wolverhampton North, has put down an Early day Motion in Parliament (EDM 605):
"That this House is dismayed that the government's programme of developing privately-controlled school academies is diverting tax payers' funds into the hands of super-rich sponsors, most of whom have no record of successful education management, and will possibly have serious detrimental effects on neighbouring schools; calls on the government to fund a `control group' of non-academy schools on a like-for-like basis with academies in order to establish evidence of value for money in terms of educational outcomes; and invites the government to establish such a control group in the City of Wolverhampton in the event of the council having to establish an academy as a condition of securing much-needed funding under the Building Schools for the Future programme."
Write to your MP asking them to sign the Anti-Academies Alliance Early Day Motion.