Education & Family

Teachers protest against academy plan

teacher protest
Image caption Teachers gathered in London to oppose plans for all schools to be forced to become academies

Teachers' unions are staging rallies against the government's plan to force all schools in England to become academies.

The National Union of Teachers has organised protest rallies in London, Birmingham, Newcastle and other cities.

Kevin Courtney of the NUT said the academy plan was a "disaster for education and local democracy".

The Department for Education said it was "disappointing" that teachers' unions were "taking this approach".

Last week the government announced that it would require all state schools in England to have academy status.

'Dynamic' or 'reckless'?

The government argues that academies, which operate outside of local authorities, can use their greater autonomy to raise standards.

"Pupils are already benefiting hugely from the academies programme and thanks to our reforms more of them than ever before are going to good or outstanding schools, meaning more parents can access a good school place for their children." said a Department for Education spokesman.

"The changes we are making will put control back in the hands of teachers and school leaders - those who know their pupils best - making sure every single child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential."

But the move has been opposed by teachers' unions, including the NUT and the ATL, who have organised protests on Wednesday for teachers and parents.

"Despite there being no evidence that academy status improves education, Nicky Morgan is recklessly ploughing ahead with this policy," said Mr Courtney, the NUT's deputy general secretary.

"Many communities and schools have categorically said they do not want to convert to an academy. In just a few days after the announcement, two petitions to government reached their 100,000 target."

Mr Courtney also said that proposals to reduce the role of parent governors went in the opposite direction of greater parental choice.

The rally in Westminster in central London will be addressed by Labour's shadow education secretary Lucy Powell, who said Labour would "fiercely oppose these plans".

"The Tory government's plans to force all schools to become academies is a top-down, costly reorganisation of our schools, which nobody wants and schools don't need."

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