Writing in the Guardian, Michael Rosen says the government’s insistence that all schools become academies sweeps aside input from governors, staff and parents and wonders if it could have more to do with privatisation than raising standards.
…In one stroke, George Osborne has eliminated the public’s role in education where we live. Here he is explaining why: “It is simply unacceptable that Britain continues to sit too low down the global league tables for education.” In taking over ministerial responsibility for education, Osborne seems to have forgotten that this job applies only to England. The reference to “global” tables is part of the argument that says doing exclamation marks better than Johnny Foreigner enables British capitalism to compete better with the Chinese. “So I’m going to get on with finishing the job we started five years ago,” he continues, “to drive up standards and set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy.”
Osborne’s line of argument here seems to be that the reason Britain is “too low down” in the tables is because of the “shackles of local bureaucracy”. It’s a big claim – the kind of claim you might expect a minister to back up with evidence. When people have asked if there is, right now, a direct link between local authorities’ role in education and real or supposed low standards, answer comes there none.
So, if academies and free schools are not necessarily better than maintained, what particular kind of magic is going to raise the standards of the schools of England purely through the mechanism of turning them all into academies?
Suspicious minds have suggested that it is not really about standards, and have focused on the possibility that it is all to do with privatisation. In place of local government, an archipelago of individuals, trusts, charities, educational institutions and companies is involved in running academies and free schools. Some are organised into “chains” that resemble in shape the grouping of schools you get with local authorities. Some sponsors and chains succeed, some fail – as Gibb has noticed…
Just a short extract here from a detailed critique of government policy but what do you make of the central accusation that the move to academise all state schools might have more to do with privatisation than standards?
Your thoughts, feedback and reactions? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link
We now have a Facebook page - pls click to like!