Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Greens condemn Government's contempt for democracy and accountability in education

Samantha Pancheri, Green Party Schools spokesperson has challenged the thinking behind the Government's Education and Adoption Bill whioch was published today.

She said:
It should not come as a surprise that the Conservatives have stepped up their backdoor privatisation of schools by announcing a new Bill that would see schools deemed as ‘failing’ forced into converting to academies.

Once again, the wishes of school staff, pupils, and parents are being robustly ignored by Nicky Morgan, in spite of multiple high profile campaigns against forced academisation, and a profound lack of evidence that conversion to academy status actually improves educational outcomes.
Alarmingly, the bill also includes a measure to scrap the requirement for academy sponsors to consult with school communities, demonstrating nothing short of contempt for democracy and local accountability, while the government dismisses anti-academy campaigns as hindrances.

There is simply no place for business interests in our schools. Education must be protected from being encroached upon by profit motives, and to have schools sponsored by the likes of BAE Systems is a disgrace.

If the Conservatives truly wish to improve educational outcomes for children and young people, they must move away from the rigid and impractical categorisation of schools by Ofsted, and instead look holistically at the environment and opportunities provided in schools. Teachers and unions have highlighted the impact of high workload and stress on their ability to meet pupils’ needs, and also that excessive testing of pupils is damaging their learning experience.

There are many positive improvements that could be made to the school system by reducing teachers’ workload, scaling back overregulation, scrapping unnecessary standardised testing and, above all, investing in schools to enable them to provide the staff and resources that pupils need and deserve in order to realise their potential.

This proposed bill will achieve nothing in that respect, and is nothing more than another step in introducing marketisation, and removing local democratic accountability from our schools.

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