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Posted on 7 July 2010 at 2:23 GMT

Organise against academies now!

Defend state education

For their promoters, one of the selling points of the divisive and part-privatised academy schools programme is 'raised educational standards'.

The Department for Education, for example, claims that academies are over three times more likely to be rated outstanding than other state schools.

Rob Spurr and Dave Carr

However, official figures for 2008-09 show that higher grade passes of GCSEs in 'academic' exams (including English and maths) amounted to 49% in academies compared to 73% for other schools.

In fact, academies have inflated their exam 'successes' by replacing academic subjects with vocational qualifications and through higher rates of exclusions and selection.

These facts further expose the fast track academies programme of 'Tory libertarian' education minister Mike Gove.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that 1,500 headteachers have already registered interest and Gove's plans include some becoming academies by September!

No consultation

Gove is also trying to change the law so that parents and the community have no right to be consulted. If a salesman wants to rush a decision, don't they usually have something to hide?

These academies will be taken outside the control of local authorities so parents, staff and the local community will have no say in what happens to the school.

Council funds and services for schools will be cut for local authority controlled schools, creating a two tier system.

Academies' governing bodies will be able to determine the school's curriculum, opening the door to undemocratic and unaccountable big business and charities deciding what is taught.

Even staff's pay and conditions will be under threat, as academies will not be covered by national agreements.

When we campaigned against the plans in Croydon where 14 schools have registered an interest in becoming an academy, lots of people agreed that it's a bad idea.

United action

Some simply thought it was an unfair policy that attacks state education. Others knew people who work in an academy and don't like the way it's run. It was clear that for many people, the start of a shift from state to private education is a step too far.

Perhaps some head teachers and governors want to go along with the Con-Dems' privatisation plans - but what right do they have to hand over our schools? If your child's school is considering becoming an academy, you need to get organised fast.

Demand that decisions are not rushed through in secret. Call for a proper consultation where all views can be heard.

Set up an anti-academies group to organise a campaign involving parents, students and teachers. Only through united mass organisation can we defeat this attack on comprehensive education.

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