Wednesday 16 March 2016

Caroline Lucas: We need to bring our schools back under local democratic oversight, not erode democracy further through forced academisation

As teachers leave in droves as a result of  workload stress and unachievable changes in pupil targets the government has deepened the crisis its policies have caused with the decision to force all LA schools to become schools academies by 2022.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, today slammed Government proposals to force all schools to become academies. 

She labelled the proposed changes as 'deeply undemocratic' and said that she fears that forced academisation could 'lead us down the path of privatisation of education.'

Caroline Lucas said:
Forcing schools to become academies – and leaving them unaccountable to local communities – is the wrong approach. Local authorities are needed to ensure good planning and fairness across a local area. They can provide for the efficient pooling of resources, including legal help and support services for pupils with special educational needs.

From a Government that bangs the ‘localism’ drum this attack on local authorities is particularly shameful. People in my own city, Brighton and Hove, have resolutely opposed academies. Forcing parents, teachers and pupils into accepting these changes by Government dictat is deeply undemocratic.

This is part of a sustained attack on local government.  Funding has been slashed, services have been cut and now they are seeing this outrageous attack on their vital role in local education. I fear the Government want to lead us down the path of the privatisation of education.

There's no evidence to suggest that academisation solves problems in education and there are concerns raised by Oftsed that academy chains have serious weaknesses.

You have to ask just how much of the funding for academy conversion will be paid to lawyers rather than invested in schools?   As well as continuing the fight against cuts in school budgets and the shortages of school places and teachers, we need to stand up for local education.  Properly supported and funded local authority schools can best help meet our young people's educational needs and deliver school improvement and social justice.

The Chancellor is careering forward in entirely the wrong direction and against the interests of children and communities.  We need to bring our schools back under local democratic oversight, not erode it further.

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