HEADS and governors in Cambridgeshire schools who are falling over themselves to take up the new academy status are either naive or highly deceitful.
They paint a picture of themselves as standing up for local schools and communities. This plays right into the hands of David Cameron and the City bankers. The ‘localism’ mantra is a euphemism for handing public assets over to the private sector and opening up new markets.
The Academies Bill is pushing schools to set up as businesses, and it endangers the whole concept of community schooling. Schools will be run for profit and will sink or swim.
To be successful the new school businesses will have to expand to meet economies of scale: those that don’t will be taken over.
The accountability of schools to their parents and students, already limited, will be virtually non-existent, and those with specific educational, emotional and behavioural needs will feel it hardest.
The real-term funding for all schools is being reduced, and that is partly why heads are now fighting each other over the few extra scraps being prioritised to academies. The ‘extra’ funding is coming from other schools and central services.
Many schools will still struggle, and the governors, many of whom are already out of their depth, will now be personally responsible and, fearing the loss of their own houses, will hand the school over to a competitor. This might not be the next school up the road but one of the vast edu-businesses that are licking their lips at the prospect of running hundreds of schools for profit.
Heads and governors who value education as a right should resist the academies shock doctrine, stay with the local authority and fight to make it better.
Secretary, Cambridge & District Trade Union Council