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Labour conference: No new academies, Angela Rayner to pledge

Discussion in 'Education news' started by chelsea2, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter



    The creation of new academy and free schools in England would be scrapped by a future Labour government, the shadow education secretary is to announce.

    Angela Rayner will tell the party conference in Liverpool the current system is "simply not fit for purpose".

    The two thirds of secondary schools and fifth of primaries already out of local authority control will not be affected.

    But Labour says powers over school admissions and building new schools should be returned to councils.

    There are about 3,400 secondary schools and 16,700 primary schools in England.

    Those that are academies are independent, state-funded schools, which receive their funding directly from central government, rather than through a local authority. Free schools are academies set up by groups of parents, teachers, charities, trusts, religious and voluntary groups.

    The number of academies and free schools grew dramatically under the coalition government, and has continued under the present Conservative government.

    Ministers have argued they help drive up standards through greater innovation and competition in the system.

    Labour's proposals go further than last year's manifesto which only proposed ending new free schools.

    Under Labour's plans, responsibility for decision making and budgets could eventually be transferred to a governing body of elected parents, teachers, school staff, and community representatives.

    'Zombie academies'
    In her speech, Ms Rayner will contend there is a lack of evidence that schools converted to academies have improved results.

    "The Tories have thrown money at an academy and free school programme that is not improving outcomes for pupils, even while individual schools have their budgets cut year after year," she will say.

    Ms Rayner is expected to say a future Labour government would enforce national pay rules to prevent executives at the chains running free schools paying themselves "fat cat salaries".

    The shadow education secretary will also raise concerns about a rise in the number of so-called zombie academies, saying 124 schools in July were in "limbo", waiting to be transferred to another trust because the current management either withdrew or had been stripped of control.

    Labour says failing academy schools would be allowed to return to local authority control and it would support new co-operative schools set up by parents and staff.
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Oh good, yet more change. Just what we needed...

    Yes, I'd love it if we went back to Local Authorities... but that's going to be another massive upturning of the system. A system that has been upturned over and over again.
    border_walker and woollani like this.
  3. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    A small glimmer of hope! Note that she's not advocating a massive upheaval with a 'drive' to return all schools to LA control - it looks like a halting of the present slide into misery & corruption with a gradual shift to bring failing and 'zombie' academies back to the fold.

    No new academies / free schools, enforcing national pay scales (particularly at the top end) and returning admissions policies to central LA control are three important steps I would welcome.

    Labour have just got to get themselves into something resembling a Government-in-waiting......
    chelsea2 and harsh-but-fair like this.
  4. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    Pigs might fly. I still haven't forgotten the fiasco they started in 2007 and 2008.
  5. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    @chelsea2 Do you think average parent views the problem with the academies as the situation was cleverly set up as

    a. problem school which lead to
    b. special measures and then
    c. bright and brilliant MAT given MILLIONS taking over to solve the problem

    The LA, for all their sins, probably haven't got the infrastructure to take back the role it once played as there have been massive redundancies there and the expertise has been pensioned off. I think we are stuck with the existing problems and having to wait until the system cracks so wide open that the parents can see that it is these shiny new MATs that are at fault.

    I remember the rhetoric when one of my local schools was taken over by a MAT with the parents saying, 'A lot of useless, lazy teachers were thrown out within three months.' If this is the kind of message that parents and children are given, there is little hope.:oops:
    phlogiston likes this.
  6. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    It's a great idea.

    I really hope it happens. A return to proper oversight and accountability is absolutely essential of we are to combat the malaise, unethical practice, and downright corrupt behaviour that is seemingly endemic in academies, and particularly MATs.

    I'd also like to see existing academies returned to Local Authority control.
    woollani and chelsea2 like this.
  7. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    The fact that academies by and large HAVEN'T done any better than LA schools is increasingly well-known.
    And all the news about shady financial deals involving academies.
    Not to mention news of the 6 figure salaries that CEOs and senior leaders are often getting - at a time when parents can see schools are strapped for cash, reducing teachers & subject options.

    And remember when the government tried to bring in compulsory academisation, and Tory supporters - both councillors & parents - in the leafy shires kicked up such a stink that the plan was dropped.

    I don't think those parents who guve a toss, by and large, are supportive of academies now.

    LAs probably aren't in a position to take schools back under their control, but the proposal doesn't suggest that (yet!). I'm sure, once money for schools is once again paid to LAs, there will people with the knowledge & expertise to take on the required roles.

    At least they'll be accountable to the people living there.
    Scintillant and harsh-but-fair like this.
  8. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    @chelsea2 Thanks for responding. Unfortunately, the parents I speak to don't see the correlation between the current state of the UK education system and MATs but I'm not in a leafy borough. I too would like to see the LA more involved in what the MATs are doing, especially with regard to SEND and exclusion issues.
  9. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I think the strength of anti-academy feeling from the mainly rural school parents & councillors was a real shock to the government.

    You're right about SEND and exclusions, but also admissions. My LA has had to find 2000 places for pupils moving into the area since places were allocated. All of our secondary schools are academies. I have been supporting a family trying to get places for their two children - and the LA & academies are just not singing from the same hymn sheet. It was a complete muddle.
    catbefriender likes this.
  10. Timothy_Blue

    Timothy_Blue Lead commenter

    So really a damp squib . Closing the gate after the New Labour horse has bolted.
    install likes this.
  11. Timothy_Blue

    Timothy_Blue Lead commenter

    Exactly. Education needs to fully return to L.A. control and school staffing reorganised : removal of business managers and SLT stripped awa; one head and deputy per school. I woolvo further too.
    install and Scintillant like this.
  12. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    I bet you do.
    Scintillant likes this.
  13. scilady

    scilady New commenter

    Education needs to be taken out of politics !
  14. scilady

    scilady New commenter


    The LA, for all their sins, probably haven't got the infrastructure

    Too right...my son works for a council and say there is NO money: most are in deficit and can only afford extreme cases of social care
  15. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    So, a complete u-turn on Labour policy and a mountain of change proposed. When Blair sowed the seeds for the academy program, he also sowed the seeds for the destruction of LEAs.

    It looks like grammar schools are here to stay though. Labour loves grammar schools and will never get rid of them.
  16. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Where else would MPs children be educated?
  17. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    Not fit for purpose, no new free schools or academies and enforcing national pay rules, some good news there. Failing schools able to go back to LA control.
    So here’s the plan, teachers on mass stop teaching proficiently and allow schools to fail and go back to LA control. It would be nice to see where the power actually is in education.
  18. mrajlong

    mrajlong Senior commenter

    My fear: New government = new curriculum. And once again we all have to adapt or die!! Hate academisation...it's been a catalogue of failures and financial scandals (and thrown away teachers' rights). Hope they all do get put back in the hands of LEAs. And I hope schools get the support back for SEN and mental health that was much easier to access in the good ole days. Also, we may get some power back that has castrated our profession. Look at the pay rises for the NHS recently (on its 70th anniversary - cynicism chip overloading). How old is free education in this country? Have we got a big anniversary coming up? LOL

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