The chairman of the Conservative 1922 backbench committee and Tory councillors are reported to be angry with the government’s plan to force 17,000 schools in England to become academies by 2020.
Melinda Tilley, cabinet member for education in Oxfordshire said:
I suppose I’m going to have to suck it up but I think they’ve gone bonkers. We made a really determined effort to keep all the academies in our family of schools in Oxfordshire. We had them come in and talk to us about what we could do to help.
I’m still blinking into the light on this one. It’s a bit like slipping down the rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland”. What? All schools?
First of all, I’m just getting my head around the numbers. My googling suggests there are 17,000 primary schools in England and 82% of those are local authority schools. There are 3,127 maintained secondary schools in England. So we are talking about roughly 17,000 schools which will be forced to undergo a major change in their management in four years.
And can I ask why? If schools are performing well, why should they need to change? And if academisation is so brilliant, why do schools have to be forced to do it?
And why would anyone want schools with no parent governors? Not even one?
Often the parent governor is the governor who is able to give the inside story: “Well actually my David says that the teachers are doing that all the time” or “some of the kids get away with that” or whatever.
And while 17,000 schools are going round in circles becoming academies in four years, what will happen to their focus on children’s education?
It doesn’t make any sense at all.