Saturday, 26 March 2016

Skoolz

One minor measure in George Osborne's budget, which has been generally overlooked in the fuss about sugar taxes, is his scheme to turn all the schools in England into academies.  Academies are tax payer funded, independent schools which aren't required to follow the national curriculum.

Given the state of the national curriculum, post Michael "Memorise them Kings!" Gove, that might seem to be not a bad thing.  But it is.

Even Tories realise this.
Leading Tory councillors across the country, dismayed by key elements of the education white paper outlined by the government last week, are calling on education secretary Nicky Morgan to rethink her policy of compulsory academisation for all schools. 
Their concerns echo those of many teachers and parents, who took part in rallies in London and many other towns and cities on Wednesday, to protest against the government’s forced academy programme. 
Around the country, councillors – many of them lifelong Tories who have devoted decades to working with schools in their areas and in many cases improving attainment – expressed profound reservations about the changes. 
The government’s white paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere, says all schools that have not begun to convert to academy status by 2020 will be directed to do so under new powers. Councils will lose responsibility for the remaining maintained schools, the majority of which will be expected to join multi-academy trusts, regardless of performance. 
“I feel really angry,” said Melinda Tilley, cabinet member for education for Oxfordshire county council, which covers the prime minister’s Witney constituency. 
“If it’s not broke don’t fix it. I don’t think schools should be forced. We’ve been supportive of the government’s agenda. We were going along quite well, helping schools to convert where we could. Now all of a sudden they are going to force the rest of them. It makes my blood boil. I’m put in a position where I can’t protect schools. One size does not fit all.”
Educational Excellence Everywhere is a great name for a white paper on education.

Just as you can tell a country that ostentatiously includes the word 'democracy' or 'democratic' in its name is nothing of the sort, you can tell straight away that these measures will not foster educational excellence anywhere.

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