Another short but fascinating piece I spotted today about the fight against academies here in Birmingham. Interestingly, the newly elected council have decided to defy central government and allow schools to remain under local authority control if they so desire. A step that doesn’t go far enough in my humble opinion, but nevertheless one to be welcomed, and one that demonstrates that there are differences, however small, between a Labour council and a Tory one. The talk of introducing a living wage is another example of that. The previous Tory run-council would naturally have done nothing of the kind.
It’s also ironic to observe that even though one of the current buzzwords in mainstream political discourse is ‘localization’ and this government makes great play of its desire to ‘devolve power back to local people’, education policy is heading in exactly the opposite direction. Local authorities are steadily having their control over education eroded, education secretary Michael Gove is quite ostentatiously ignoring the will of local people, plus the much vaunted ‘free schools’ negotiate directly with Whitehall to determine their funding. Which last time I checked is pretty much the direct opposite of localization. Funny that, isn’t it.
It remains to be seen if this move actually amounts to anything. On past form one would expect Michael Gove, surely one of the most conceited and unjustifiably egotistic people on the planet, to completely ignore this decision and just impose his preferred policy.
Sometimes it’s hugely depressing to note that all the policies that this government are turning to shit, but they are ramming them through regardless……
Originally posted on Birmingham Against The Cuts:
Birmingham Labour Council says its principle is ‘Not to force schools down any route: Staying with current arrangements will remain an option for all schools.’
This commitment is in a letter sent on 11 July by Brigid Jones, the Cabinet Member for Education, to all schools and teacher unions. It represents a significant change of policy from that of the previous administration. It means that every primary school under threat of forced academisation can now say NO to Gove and tell Briscoe, the DfE hitman, to get off the premises. But Gove won’t give up without a fight, which means that schools – teachers, support staff, parents, governors – in alliance with the Local Authority need to be preparing now to fight back individually and collectively across Birmingham..
It is not just schools in underperforming categories that are under threat
Take Moor Green primary school. Look at its results. Well above the 60% threshold, progress at or above the national median, and Ofsted says doesn’t need ‘significant improvement’. But the school has been told it has to be taken over as an academy. Is any school safe?
2011 SATS L4EM
National average 74%
Moor Green 72%
Progress: up by 2 levels from KS1
National median 87%
Moor Green 89%
National median 86%
Moor Green 86%
Ofsted February 2011 Notice to Improve. New head and deputy appointed. Ofsted March 2012 ‘no longer requires significant improvement’.
You can read more about Gove’s plans to force 30 local primaries to become academies, and why parents and teachers should oppose the moves in this post: “No to Forced Academies in Birmingham”