[Pictured above is John Eveleigh, then Labour Leader of Otley Town Council, leading the march through Otley to oppose Prince Henry’s becoming an Academy in 2011. Teachers’ unions, parents, some governors and the local town council opposed the change, which the Board of governors voted through by a very narrow majority.]
Labour candidate Nik Rutherford is calling for an area-wide strategy to combat the government’s plan to force all schools to become academies.
“The proposed staff cuts at Prince Henry’s Academy is a timely reminder that schools run as businesses are more financially precarious, and far less accountable. There was strong opposition from parents, teachers and the community when Prince Henry’s governors voted for conversion in 2011.”
“This Tory plan opens the door for private companies to own ever larger chains of schools and take over our education system. Turning schools into businesses and ending the role of parent governors will break the vital relationship between our primary schools and their communities.”
“There is no evidence that academies raise educational standards” says Nik. “The so-called statistical evidence from Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is highly flawed as it doesn’t compare like with like. Forcing schools to become academies is ideologically driven, and has caused widespread opposition, even among Conservative MPs, because they have successful local authority schools in their constituencies.”
Nik points out the government is also abolishing the requirement to have parent governors on academy school boards. “This Tory plan opens the door for private companies to own ever larger chains of schools and take over our education system. Turning schools into businesses and ending the role of parent governors will break the vital relationship between primary schools and their communities.”
Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat party leaders at local government level have already called for the Department for Education to drop the highly unpopular policy.
“The idea that academisation improves schools or provides them with greater freedom is a myth” said Nik Rutherford. “Locally, we need to be joining forces to oppose proposals that parents, school leaders and teachers don’t want, and that are hugely expensive. It appears to cost around £66,000 per school, with financially stretched local authorities forced to pay another £12,300 costs for every school. We have good, successful locally run primary schools in Otley and Yeadon, and we need to work with them and all locally run schools across the Leeds local authority area to resist.
The costs of forced academisation are reviewed in this article in the Independent: