This may look like a long lead in, but bear with me for a moment - I'm confused and need help. Here's a bit of what Nicky Morgan said on Mumsnet the other day: "...We need to put our trust into the hands of the people that know best how to run our schools - the teachers - and the academy system does just that. It gives schools greater autonomy to make the decisions that are right for their community and pupils. After all, we have the finest generation of teachers ever and being part of an academy helps put the power back in their hands..." http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_p...gan-Why-academisation-is-best-for-our-schools And here's a quote from the BBC website this evening: "...The government argues that academies, which operate outside of local authorities, can use their greater autonomy to raise standards. "Pupils are already benefiting hugely from the academies programme and thanks to our reforms more of them than ever before are going to good or outstanding schools, meaning more parents can access a good school place for their children." said a Department for Education spokesman. "The changes we are making will put control back in the hands of teachers and school leaders - those who know their pupils best - making sure every single child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential..." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35883922 But I've also read this excellent blog which said this: Anyone doubting the lack of autonomy for individual academies under the new system need only listen to the people who run them. Take Mark Ducker, executive principal of Step Academy Trust, a chain of seven South London primaries. “We need to have standard operational procedure in terms of teaching and learning,” he told TES last year. “Our curriculum needs to be very similar across the group, and our teaching style and our assessment system.” That is control over individual schools beyond anything that local authorities would have dared do at the height of their powers – it is control over actual pedagogy. Forget autonomy over the curriculum, a growing number of academies are no longer able to decide how to teach it. Sir Michael Wilkins, chief executive of the Outwood Grange Academies Trust, an MAT of 15 academies based in Wakefield, recently told TES: “We run it like one big school. The principals are more like heads of departments.” The model allows him to quickly pull “levers”, enabling the instant spread of good practice across its schools. But it is not how ministers have sold academies... See my problem? THAT doesn't sound like autonomy to me. It doesn't sound as though the teachers have any say in either what they teach, how they teach or - as suggested in the rest of the blog (well worth reading, BTW) - possibly even where they teach. It's control certainly, but not by the teachers or even the principals - it seems as though it all comes down to the executive at the top of the greasy pole. So I've got two questions: Firstly, is there anyone working in an academy (and here I mean actual classroom teachers, not leaders / business managers etc. or anyone with 'executive' in their job description) who can tell us all how autonomous, empowered and in-control they now feel? Secondly, is it possible that, in the same way she doesn't know what 11 x 12 is, Nicky Morgan just doesn't understand the difference in meaning between 'autonomous' and 'autocratic'?