I have followed, with interest, recent items – statements, articles, letters – on the developing trend of schools to ‘convert’ to ‘academy status’. In this way, we are told, they will be able to ‘free themselves from the dead hand of local authority control’ (a national tabloid description).
This process seems to have quietly accelerated locally, without any perceivable debate on the merits/demerits of the arrangement. This fact was mentioned some weeks ago by an earlier correspondent to your newspapers.
Before the stream of conversions of schools – not only secondary but primary as well – becomes a flood, is it too much to ask that parents and the local community in general be given much more detail about the disadvantages as well as the supposed benefits of the new structures over the existing arrangements?
A wall of silence has grown up about the issue locally: very few words from the teaching profession, from others involved in the education service or from many parents.
Alarmingly, Coun Mrs P Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services at Lincolnshire County Council, in her latest foray on this matter, appears to suggest that the county council would be glad to be rid of the job of managing the education service in Lincolnshire.
She would commend schools to the oversight of CfBT. What is known about this organisation and its record of supervising schools? How long can it be guaranteed to support those schools, which cut their links irrevocably with the Local Education Authority?