Schools ‘desperate’ for academy status

The Deepings School, which is currently in the process of an academy bid.
The Deepings School, which is currently in the process of an academy bid.
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SCHOOLS have been accused of running “lemming-like” to sign up to academy status even though the benefits to children’s education are not clear.

And Lincolnshire County Council has been likened to a “turkey voting for Christmas” for its stance on encouraging all of the county’s schools to become academies as it will effectively be the author of its own demise if all schools leave Local Education Authority control.

The harsh criticism comes from former county council opposition spokesman for education and former school governor Phil Dilks, who is backing a Save Lincolnshire Schools campaign set up in response to the county’s new policy.

Campaigners have set up an e-petition calling on the county council to carry out a public consultation giving everyone the chance to put across their views on schools being encouraged to take up academy status.

Mr Dilks, a member of Deeping St James Parish Council, said: “Schools across Lincolnshire are being cajoled at best into going to academy status and what concerns me is the speed it is happening and it is being done for political dogma reasons.

“It is clear that Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, is deliberately ripping the heart out of local education authorities by farming schools out to the control of others.

“What we are losing is the democratic accountability for local schools – where do parents go with their complaints if they cannot get satisfaction from the governors, for example? If the school is an academy they will have to go to the Secretary of State for Education and that system is untried and untested at best and at worst spells complete disaster.”

But Mr Dilks says he understands why schools are rushing to become academies because they fear being left behind in the control of an LEA which has had its heart ripped out and unable to provide necessary support services, which he claims are already being “thinned out”.

He added: “I think this policy will destroy something very valuable and I can’t understand why we are going down this route because the county council hasn’t said why it believes academies are the way forward for our schools.

“Our schools are running like lemmings and we need to stop before it’s too late and have a proper consultation on this policy.

“My feeling is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

To sign the Save Lincolnshire Schools e-petition go to http://epetitionslincolnshire.firmstep.com/petitions/save-our-schools.