Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/702/13567
Haringey parents say: No to academies!
Paul Gerrard, National Union of Teachers
Primary school parents in Haringey, north London, are in the front line of the battle against the Con-Dems' destruction of our education. Five Haringey schools, which supposedly do not meet the government's 'floor' targets for results, are threatened with being compulsorily turned into academies.
Over 600 people attended a Haringey meeting to organise against the bullying tactics of the government. Saturday 28 January will see a massive demonstration through the streets of Haringey.
Already education secretary Michael 'Royal Yacht' Gove has had to back down: one of the schools, Downhills School, where results have improved recently, will undergo an Ofsted inspection before any decision about a change of status.
New Labour used bribery to turn schools into academies with up to £2 million promised from a business sponsor. The coalition government are now using compulsion.
The Con-Dems argue that academies are the only way to raise standards in under-performing schools. Yet recent research publicised by the Anti Academies Alliance shows that in London, on the measure of five GCSEs including English and maths, the best performing schools are NOT academies. Nationally, 20% of academies failed to improve on their GCSE results in 2010.
Haringey parents are right to call academies 'privatisation'. Already bigger academy 'chains' run more schools than some local authorities.
Oasis Community Learning, for example, runs 12 high schools all over England. Nine teachers were sacked at its Media City Academy in Salford at Christmas.
And ultimately, academies can pay staff whatever they like.
Despite business involvement, eight academies recently had to be 'bailed out' by the government for nearly £11 million.
An academy at Backwell near Bristol recently failed to enter 100 pupils for GCSE science exams. A parent commented: "I feel badly let down... now the school is an academy, who is it accountable to?"
Academy plans can be defeated. At St Leonards RC School in Durham staff voted 105 to 15 against academy status and the plan was dropped. Protesting parents stopped an academy project at Varndean School in Brighton. Teachers from Lancashire to Gloucestershire, from Coventry to London, have taken strike action against academy proposals. If the NUT and NASUWT teaching unions mobilise promptly, they can kill the plans before they get underway.
- For coordinated strike action across schools threatened with academy status, backed by strong community campaigns
- No to academies and free schools. Bring all schools under local authority control
- We need high quality local comprehensive schools, under democratic control including students, parents and education workers
- Haringey Labour MP David Lammy is opposed to compulsory academies, but not to academies themselves. None of the main parties opposes Academies. Elect trade union and community candidates to the London assembly and in town halls to defend comprehensive education.
Demonstrate against academies!
Saturday 28 January, 12noon
Assemble at Keston Road N17
(Next to Downhills School)
March to Haringey Civic Centre
In The Socialist 25 January 2012:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news