Monday 2 January 2012

What happens when academies fail?

A spirited anti-academy campaign. More in 2012?

A repeated theme of my postings on academies on this blog has been the lack of democratic accountability. Although he leaves out the 'democratic' bit Sir Michael Wilshaw the incoming Ofsted  Chief Inspector  recognised the problem of accountability over the holiday, acknowledging that some of the increasing number of academies are likely to fail. LINK

His solution however seemed to indicate a new layer of supervision which would expand Ofsted's role and run in parallel with the existing local authority system. This duplication (and expense at a time of retrenchment) would be unnecessary if all schools remained within the local authority system - and of course we don't vote for Ofsted but we do vote for local Councils. Wilshaw however proposes that his 'Commissioners' would report directly to the Secretary of State - centralising power further,

There is an interesting piece on this on Brian Lightman's blog LINK   Lightman is General Secretary of the ACSL (Association of School and College Leaders). He describes Wilshaw's proposal as:
....effectively an devastating critique  of government policy, based on the premise that the move  an autonomous system of academies without local accountability has massively increased the risk of school failure?
He describes how much education policy is made up on the hoof and based on policy makers' personal experience. He suggest that the Crown should appoint a Chief Education Officer, along the same lines as the Chief Medical officer whose role: a leading expert with the highest levels of specialist knowledge and experience would be to evaluate proposed and existing government policies with complete independence. In such a context  a proposal of this kind be would substantiated by a robust, credible and above all independent evaluation of its merits before a Chief Inspector announced it on the front page of a national newspaper.
After 36 years in primary schools I am certainly truly fed up with the way education policy seems to change on a whim with little research to back up proposals, but am not sure that a CEO is the answer.

Meanwhile there have been some responses to my question about Coop academies on the Anti Academies Alliance website HERE

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