Reacting to the news that 24 Bromley schools are seeking academy status and that Darrick Wood has already received agreement in principle from Education Secretary Michael Gove, Nigel de Gruchy, Secretary of the Orpington Labour Party, said:
Schools seeking academy status risk buying a pig in a poke. Nobody, not even Gove himself, knows how this reckless rush to academy status for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of schools will pan out in the fullness of time. Contradictions, dodgy information, uncertainty and unanswered questions abound.
Why are schools such as Darrick Wood in Orpington, recently declared by the OFSTED inspectorate to be “outstanding”, undertaking yet more fundamental and destabilising reforms?
Why are academies given the freedom to opt out of the ‘statutory and vital’ National Curriculum which was introduced by the Conservatives in the 1990s amid much fanfare?
As for local freedom and the ‘Big Society’, there is no guarantee that parents and staff will have the right to be represented on Governing Bodies. The Articles of Association for the Academy Trusts and Funding Agreements have yet to be decided. Limited rights to consultation for interested parties were only secured through an amendment in the House of Lords.
The results of the 2010 elections show Bromley to be overwhelmingly Conservative. Do these head teachers and governors really believe their schools have to set free from the apparently malevolent and bureaucratic clutches of a Conservative dominated Council?
For further comment contact Nigel de Gruchy. Telephone: 01689 850098 or 07860 377525.