The Observer is reporting that former education secretary David Blunkett has warned that government plans to turn all schools into academies by 2022 are doomed to fail and could turn into a fiasco.
Writing in the Observer, Blunkett, who was the first to develop plans for academy schools under the Labour government in 2000, accuses Tory ministers of seeking “permanent revolution” instead of organic change, in a way that could discredit the entire academies programme…
Blunkett argues, however, that the original role of academies, which was to improve underperforming schools and raise standards by allowing those running them to have greater autonomy and to draw on expertise and best practice from outside, has been usurped by a Tory ideological obsession with removing all of them from any local authority control.
He says that many state schools are already judged good or outstanding by Ofsted and that a policy of forcing them to become academies, against the wishes of teachers and parents, would mean a costly, top-down reform process to address problems that don’t exist, reminiscent of the health reforms of the last parliament.
“It is mystifying why so many primary schools, already judged good and outstanding, will be forced to conform to new structures, at huge cost, when money is so scarce,” he argues.
“In high-performing localities, we appear to be confronting problems that don’t exist, rather than concentrating on using flexibility and autonomy as weapons to tackle underperformance where standards have to be raised – the original objective of academies.
“It must be that someone, somewhere, thinks that ideological fervour and further expensive structural change is a substitute for improving what happens in the classroom, and that it will be supported by parents. Parents who are, we also heard last week, to be excluded from school governing bodies in a system run entirely from the centre by politicians. What kind of autonomy is this?”…
Read David Blunkett’s article in full from the Observer at: Making all schools academies imperils children’s life chances
A very interesting point here from David Blunkett on the difference between having academy conversion available as an option when needed and just being made the default choice for all.
What do you think of his comments and warnings?
Please share in the comments or via Twitter…
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.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 - please click to like!