From The Guardian:
As a survey by the thinktank Reform showed last week, most schools that convert to academy status do so because they get extra cash, which would otherwise be retained by local authorities for central services such as helping pupils with special needs. One school calculated it would get an extra £462 per pupil, a 10% rise. Most academies do not plan to change their curriculum, school day or admissions policy. Despite union fears, most will stick to national agreements on staff pay and conditions as, indeed, do most fee-charging schools.
So what is the point of academies? There are several possibilities. First, so-called “independent” academies increase the opportunities for commercial involvement in state-funded education. Many schools will use their extra cash to pay private companies to run anything from back-office management to teaching and learning programs.
Then again, without local authorities to hold the ring, schools will compete more fiercely for able and advantaged pupils who can boost exam scores. Academies will be allowed to expand their intakes even if that undermines neighboring schools by depriving them of pupils. And we’ve certainly seen how that works in the U.S.
And it just might be that the Tories would like to see the return of grammar schools, in place of comprehensive schools; this would be easier if schools were academies.
All Power To Central Government
The advance of academies means the demise of local education authorities, with all power going to the government in London, rather than being dispersed, as it used to be, with teachers, parents, local councils and central government all having rights and responsibilities defined by statute.
And that’s not a good thing.
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