Academies guilty of the most blatant gaming of all: a school place only for the brightest

Writing in the Guardian, Educating Essex headteacher Vic Goddard says students with special needs risk becoming second-class citizens in an all-academy system.

…I’d be a hypocrite to say I think becoming an academy is the wrong choice, because for our school it hasn’t been. What you call a school doesn’t matter to me. My governors had that choice and they decided it was the right opportunity, at the right time, for us. But if what I see happening already in our partial academy system is not dealt with, there are major problems ahead for our communities and our children under an all-academy system.

I am worried, in the words of Iain Duncan Smith, that we are not going to be “all in this together” when it comes to educational opportunities. I have heard too many horrific accounts from parents whose children don’t tick the A*-C box, or else have an additional learning need, being told that one academy or another cannot meet the needs of their child. This is normally followed by “but the school down the road can”…

We have heard much about schools “gaming” the exam system and policies have been designed to control this. But the government is ignoring the most blatant gaming of all. If someone is not given the job of overseeing academy admissions, then we will not all be in this together. The young people who don’t help an academy with its league table position will be made to feel like second-class citizens. We must not allow academies to decide which child is worthy of a place. Schools doing this must be tackled in the harshest way…

More at: Academies guilty of the most blatant gaming of all: a school place only for the brightest

 

In the full article – well worth reading – Vic Goddard explains how proud he is of the inclusiveness of his school but worries that not all others have the same approach.

Is he right to highlight the oversight of academy admissions as a major area of concern moving forwards 9if not already)?

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Categories: Academies, Leadership and Policy.

Comments

  1. I’ve just posted this under the Guardian article:
    ‘The Academies Commission warned in 2013 that the academy system could result in the appearance of a group of hard-to-place pupils .  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/03/las-cant-direct-academies-to-accept-pupils-this-could-have-negative-effect-on-hard-to-place-pupils-academies-commission-warns”.  The Government did not respond to this report. In 2014 the Children’s Commissioner said she’d heard anecdotal evidence of parents being told by schools (not just academies) that their child would be better of elsewhere.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/04/it-might-be-best-if-you-looked-elsewhere-the-childrens-commissioner-describes-the-ways-schools-can-deter-pupils-they-dont-want
    When schools are judged by exam results, and teachers’ careers hinge on these results, then education in its fullest sense becomes less important than headline test scores.  The OECD warned in 2011 there was too much emphasis on exam results in England and this risked negative consequences such as teaching to the tests, ‘gaming’ and  neglect of other important skills.  OECD also said it produced perverse incentives for schools to dissuade applications from pupils likely to depress results.
    And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.’

  2. TW

    So when his governing body, of which he was presumably a member, grabbed the government bribe for converting to academy status, it didn’t occur to them to wonder why they were being bribed?

  3. paulinelimen

    SchoolsImprove sadly, we will have to put up with this and much more when all schools become academies according to Nicky Morgan’s plan.

  4. paulinelimen

    SchoolsImprove sadly, we will have to put up with this and much more when all schools become academies according to Nicky Morgan’s plan.

  5. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove You term ‘blatant gaming’ that which had been assumed in education for 5000 years. Contrary view since 1944 foundering.

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