Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Academy

Mortar Board and certificateA barney is brewing over Redbridge Council’s plans to build an Academy. Leaving aside the proposed site, the subject of objections in its own right, there aren’t many options left to the council as to where to locate it.

Academies, if I remember correctly, were the pet project of ex Prime Minister Tony Blair and the government plan to roll out some 400 of these throughout the country.

From what has been reported we need a new secondary school to cope with the projected numbers and the only funding available is that for an Academy. So, its an Academy or nothing. The heavy hand of big government riding roughshod over local decision making again. Look, if it was a good thing, then people would want them and the pressure would be on local councils to provide them. Why does government need to force the issue?

But apart from the obvious distinction in that they are run by private sponsors, the main objection of the National Union of Teachers, are they any different to a normal state school? As I recall, and I may be wrong, they are intended to address the “culture of low aspiration” but then shouldn’t state schools be doing that and providing for all children of all abilities and backgrounds?

I don’t quite know what to make of it, any suggestions or contributions welcome, particularly from teachers and ex-teachers [that’s you Joyce and Margaret].

Absolute Return for Kids
Teachers strike over academies
What are Academies?


  1. I do not quite understand why the Governm ent wants academies, especially in redbridge where the existing state schools are generally doing well. The NUT dislikes them because the governors do not necessarily have adequate local representation and the ethic may be ours. However, as Redbridge has too little money to build its own schools, it seems that an academy would be a source of needed funds. I wonder what would happen if Redbridge refused to build and large numbers of children could not have their compulsory entitlement of education.

  2. It seems to come down to money because some of the finance is private. This means that private interests can intrude, possibly at the expense of ours because the governing body will give them a large share of representation, so I am told. The Central Government doubtless sees academies as a way of paying for education without raising taxes or curtailing our adventures abroad. Redbridge cannot afford to raise money on its own for the sort of maintained school that we already have. The Government makes much about the academies bailing out failing schools although I have not ever found out how or whether they succeed when others have failed. Failing schools are not a serious problem here where league tables show Redbridge as doing well and certainly not needing change of character on educational grounds.

    If we do not have more schools for our increasing population, many children may not receive their entitlement of compulsory education. I do not know our legal situation, but wonder how the Government would deal with Redbridge if it did nothing. It would be no use fining Redbridge because it could not pay. It could put all the councillors and officers in one of our overcrowded prisons with room only if they put the 33 Conservative councillors in one cell. They could then take over our local government themselves and thus provide jobs for redundant city workers, carefully vetted for Britishness and loyalty to the Government.