The problem with academies

We are now told by the Government that all schools will be designated as academies. However, even Tory MPs and councillors are now arguing against such an outcome. So what are the problems with academies? In the first instance academies are not the panacea they are presented to be. In fact they are little more than an extension of the present government’s political aim of dismantling the values enshrined within the welfare state, democratic accountability, representation and equity. Also, as is becoming increasingly obvious, academies are defined as independent bodies, and as such divorced from local communities. To ensure this, the government also intend to abolish the role of parent governors. This of course will allow academies increasingly to select pupils on criteria created by each individual academy. Furthermore, teachers will not be required to be qualified. They will also have any terms and conditions imposed on them, as are the Junior Doctors. And so, as with the Junior Doctors, professional associations and trade unions will increasingly be ignored.

Finally, being an academy does not automatically mean that examination results improve. If they don’t of course, teachers can be sacked, and in doing so an academy can dispose of teachers, and recruit unqualified teachers in their place at a lower wage. Therefore it is little wonder that junior doctors and teachers are either looking for alternative employment abroad, or leaving their professions altogether. On a personal note, I have always been optimistic for the future given our ability to negotiate our way through problems. However, we are now faced with a government that increasingly imposes its political will on the population, a situation that one would expect of a dictatorship, not a country that prizes itself as being a democracy.

Richard Nicholls