Education & Family

Your views on the scrapping of academy plans

Pupils at a primary school

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced on Friday the government has scrapped plans to turn all state schools in England into academies.

The change of tack came after strong opposition from some Conservative MPs and councillors.

Many of you got in touch to give us your views on the subject. Here are three of the responses we received.

'This is not yet celebration time'

Image copyright Jenny Brown

Jenny Brown, 62 was a primary school teacher in Brent, north London, until 2014.

"The education White Paper in reverse is a victory for children and primary schools.

"I was the nursery teacher in a good primary school with outstanding features in Early Years. Although this was our judgement in 2013, a year later we were judged to be 'inadequate' and the head teacher and governors were removed. The confusion and bad management that followed was awful to work with. I have not yet returned to class teaching for fear of walking into a similar experience of forced academisation.

"This is a kind of school destruction, not school improvement.

"Even if it were possible to find a multi-academy trust that is better than the rest, we will have no way of knowing it would stay this way.

"The reverse gear that Nicky Morgan found will need to continue reversing so that we can return to teaching and valuing each pupil as a human child and not a commodity. An end to forced academisation for all schools does feel like a victory. Nevertheless, parents, teachers, head teachers and support staff know this is not yet celebration time."

'This shows the government is willing to listen'

Image copyright Julie Simpson

Julie Simpson, 54, is the principal of the Saint Barnabas Multi-Academy Trust in south-east Cornwall. The trust is made up of six primary schools in the region.

"The conversion to an academy trust was for a financial reason. We felt our schools were valuable in their locations and we felt we needed to sustain that.

"It's been a really positive experience, and it's been beneficial to us and particularly to the children. The model we have isn't going to suit everybody.

"What makes a school is strong and effective leadership and good teachers. There are some very strong, good or outstanding primary schools which are financially sustainable with the models that they have got. There's no reason they should have to convert to academies. There's no reason at all.

"I am very pleased the government has given the choice back to the leaders of successful and effective schools.

"I think this shows the government is willing to listen to the voice of the profession and its own MPs and to make the changes when necessary."

'There is no clear evidence conversion to an academy drives up standards'

Image copyright David Soulsby

David Soulsby, 78, has been a governor for 14 years at the rural Alfriston Primary School in East Sussex.

"I'm pleased that the government has climbed down.

"My concern is there is no clear evidence whatsoever that conversion to an academy drives up standards. If there is any such evidence, why has the government not quoted it?

"One of the conditions remaining in the government's changed policy is that if so many of a local authority's schools have converted to academies that the local authority can no longer support them, those too can be forced to convert. If a local authority can't provide for schools, that school will have academisation forced on them."

"When are they actually going to devolve things and stop grabbing things for themselves?"

Interviewed and written by Daniel Avis

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