Academy kids could become lost in crowd

A GROWING number of parents are considering paying for private education rather than risk their children becoming “just a face in the crowd” at oversized academies.

The headteacher at independent Kirkstone House School in Baston says she has been approached by a number of parents enquiring about places for their youngsters as the trend of state secondary schools becoming academies gains momentum.

And Corinne Jones says the enquiries are not just from those looking for their child to start Kirkstone House in Year Seven but are spread throughout the year groups, suggesting parents are considering removing their children from the state education system midway through their school careers.

She said: “I am increasingly aware of the concerns of parents who do not want their children educated in a large and faceless institution.

“We are currently being approached by many parents seeking a place at Kirkstone because they feel that the individual is lost in massive educational establishments.

“We accept many children from small local villages and parents seem increasingly to be despairing that there are so few local small schools left at secondary level.

“The move towards academy status is detrimental to everything to do with good educational practice, it loses sight of the individual and forgets that the child should be at the heart of education.

“This is a case of the tail wagging the dog.”

She cites some academies’ policy to have different staff responsible for a pupil’s pastoral care to those teaching them in lessons, which she fears will result in no-one having a “whole child” overview, as one of the reasons parents are unhappy.

The sheer size of some academies is also a factor.

And Mrs Jones believes smaller schools are also able to tailor their courses more to their pupils than larger academies, where “one size must fit all”.

She said: “I think this move towards academies means the personal element of education, which is what it should be all about, is seriously compromised.”

Mrs Jones’ comments follow a decision by Lincolnshire County Council to encourage all schools within the county to consider becoming academies through educational trust CfBT.