No parent, student or teacher would oppose the building of a brand new fully staffed and resourced community school. (School of the Future, Peers Academy proposal Thursday 22nd March, 2007) Indeed it is a fundamental birthright of every child to have access to free, high quality education in a good local school which is accountable to the community through locally elected councillors.
Transforming Peers into an academy would not turn it into an ‘effective community school’ as claimed by DfES spokesman Daniel Webb-Jones. Indeed quite the opposite would happen. The local community would in fact loose democratic control of the school. Academy sponsors can and always do appoint the majority of the governors. Parents, staff and Local Authority governors in the academy would be in a permanent minority.
In addition, the present publicly owned buildings and grounds would be transferred to the Diocese of Oxford and the three other named sponsors of the plan, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and BMW. For a minimal financial contribution towards the £30 million cost of the new school these four unaccountable ‘sponsors’ would be given control of a modern independent school and receive the entire school budget directly from the Government. One has to ask why, if the Government is prepared to hand out such sums of money, it does not give the money directly to the local authority to build and control a new school.
The national bodies of the teacher unions NUT, NASUWT, ATL, and UNISON, the school support workers’ union, are all opposed to the creation of Academies and are part of the Anti-Academies alliance (www.antiacademies.org.uk). We must defend free public education and ensure that all children can attend a good local school which is democratically accountable to the local community.
Vice President Oxfordshire Association National Union of Teachers.
Secretary Oxfordshire Association NUT