Teachers slam academy ‘scandal’


- Credit: © Royalty-Free/Corbis

A NORTH Somerset teachers’ union has criticised academy schools in the wake of a ‘damning report’ by a Government education panel.

The Education Select Committee, a board of MPs put together by Parliament, said academies have created healthy competition within schooling. But it also says the Department for Education (DfE) must be more transparent and give Ofsted full powers to inspect academies, while select committee chairman Graham Stuart has questioned if academies are really improving standards.

He said: “Current evidence does not prove academies raise standards overall or for disadvantaged children.

“It is clear though that academisation has led to greater competition.

“Going forward, the DfE should be less defensive and more open about its implementation of the academies programme.”

The reports findings have led to strong criticism from South West National Union of Teachers (NUT) secretary Andy Woolley, who questions whether children are getting a good enough education in the academy era.

He said: “This is an utterly damning report which shows that children’s education is being run in an incoherent and unaccountable fashion. This is a scandalous revelation.”

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This view was backed locally by North Somerset NUT branch secretary Jon Reddiford.

He said: “The NUT has always opposed academy status. It replaces a model where schools were planned and directed from an elected local body, the local authority, so this line of accountability to local people has been removed.

“While it is true that if parents are unhappy with a school then they could send their children to another school, the rural nature of North Somerset makes that much harder.”

Supporters of academies argue the greater autonomy which comes with conversion benefits pupils through improved clarity on school budget and curriculum controls.

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