Following the Tory-led Coalition’s announcement that all schools are to be eligible to apply for Academy status, West Exe Technology College are considering applying for Academy status.
This is why I think they are wrong to go down that route.
Changing West Exe Technology College to Academy status risks privatisation comprehensive state education.
Michael Gove [Minister for Education] claims he is doing this in order to help our poorer students, when at the same time he is cutting the Building Schools for the Future programme and preparing cuts of up to 25%.
Schools working together, sharing expertise, resources and working with the community has to be better than the “Go it alone – I’m alright, Jack’ approach of the Gove academies.
The Coalition has radically altered the content and ultimate goal of Labour’s Academies legislation.
Labour’s aim was to give struggling schools a helping hand BUT ONLY after a consultation with the local community. If significant concerns were expressed by the parents, students, teachers and local residents, then they could halt the plans.
The Coalition has changed the rules so that schools can become Academies simply by a vote of the governors – no consultation with parents, teachers, support staff or the local community.
If every school can turn into an Academy, this runs the risk of Local Education Authorities, who are directly accountable to local people, losing control of school edcuation on a massive scale, allowing private businesses to run children’s education in this country.
This change to the legislation is why we have had such little notice about what is such an important issue – not just to the current parents, but to everyone in the eider community. We believe that a proper consultation with every stakeholder will give a munch better indication about the desired future of West Exe Technology College than what we have now, which is an autonomous decision behind closed doors.
This is not the way to make a decision on the future of education in West in particular, and in the wider city of Exeter.
The College will have NO additional money
It will be allocated its share of the money that is currently held by the Local Education Authority [Devon County Council] to make provisions across all schools – for pupils with a whole range of special needs, pupil support, education welfare and school transport.
If the school has a significant number of pupils with special needs, it may not be able to match the provision provided by the LEA.
If the plan goes ahead, then there is NO guarantee on the future revenue funding. The College, if it became an Academy, would not be able to rely on support from the local authority if circumstances beyond its control were to change.
Once a school becomes an Academy what can parents do if they are not happy with any decisions made?
Academies are not part of the LEA family of schools, therefore parents cannot complain to the local authority or their local councillor.
Any complaints about the Academy would have to be raised with the Secretary of State for Education in London.
Will the Academy still work with the local authority?
NO…Academies are independent schools and are not maintained by the local authority.
The whole basis of application for Academy status is to encourage schools to break the link with the local authority.
If a school becomes an Academy and wants to change back, is that possible?
NO! A decision to become an Academy is irreversible
Will there be changes to catchment areas or admissions?
Academies are their own admissions authority and therefor set their own admissions policies.
They will not be required to abide by the LEA’s admissions code.