This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
SecEd The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Inside this issue

Six-hour Lords debate raises academy fears

Chris Parr

Big kick-off: World Cup 2010

On the eve of the big kick-off in South Africa, we look at some World Cup resources to help you inspire your students Page 15

At the House of Lords

Former education secretary Estelle Morris has launched a scathing attack on the coalition government’s academy plans, which were debated at the House of Lords on Monday (June 7). And Baroness Morris was not

the only one raising concerns over the Academies Bill, with the issues of how the new schools will cater for SEN students, the pace at which legislation is being introduced, and fears that the changes could pro- mote a “two-tier” education system in England also prompting fierce debate. Under the Bill, introduced for

Singing Up at secondary school

The National Sing Up programme is known for supporting primary schools, but it also offers help to keep singing alive into year 7 Pages 8 and 9

SecEd digital 16036_ATL_Sec Ed AD 277x50 AW 21/5/10 14:31 Page 1

and Twitter Thousands of teachers are reading SecEddigital, a virtual edition of SecEd, which is emailed out every week. You can sign up for free by emailing SecEd news and features are now also available on Twitter. You can follow us at www.

ernment has wrongly assumed that academies had improved at a fast- er rate than other schools purely because of their freedoms. In a passionate address, she

asked the Lords: “What evidence is there that a system that is in its

its second reading in the Lords by Lord Jonathan Hill, the junior edu- cation minister, every state school in England has the right to apply to become an academy school; state- funded, but outside local authority control. Schools rated “outstand- ing” by Ofsted would be able to fast-track themselves onto the acad- emy programme by September, while others will be expected to put forward their case for receiving academy freedoms. Schools that become academies

receive the 10 to 15 per cent of their individual budget that usually goes to the local authority, but they are expected to pay for services that would traditionally be provided by the local council, such as transport and school meals. Academy schools are also exempt from national pay and conditions agreements. Baroness Morris said the gov-

Issue 252 • June 10 2010 Price £1.00

which the legislation was being hurried through. Lord Andrew Turnbull, former

cabinet secretary and chairman of governors at Dulwich College in London, said he had a great deal of concern about the “haste of the bill”, saying the timetable for implementing the plans was “seri- ously misguided.” He also criticised the way in

which schools had been invited to ask the secretary of state for acad- emy status, claiming that they were writing letters saying “yes please, me too” instead of making a more detailed case. Another “serious hole” in the

Bill, according to Lord Turnbull, is the lack of obligation to consult parents and the wider community to explain the academy’s ambitions. “It is an omission, and may

prove to be dangerous judicial review territory,” he said. Lord Hill said that current leg-

Questions: A six-hour debate in the House of Lords raised several queries about academies

entirety independent, with schools free from local authority control, will be more effective than what we have at the moment? The evi- dence which the minister quoted is that schools that had been undera- chieving and were turned around improved their attainment more than the average across the nation. I am sorry, but that is to be expected given the attention that they had.” Baroness Morris claimed that

the new Bill risked diverting atten- tion from the two factors that can really influence how well students perform – teaching and learning – adding that academies had not brought improvement because of the system, but because they had received extra support and been treated like a “favoured child”. She continued: “What is the

justification for taking the focus of the whole machinery of gov-

ernment and the education service away from teaching and learning and putting it on whether to apply for academy status or not? The only justification for this Bill is if the noble Lord can prove that, in itself, it will improve the quality of teach- ing in the classroom. “Which clause in this Bill means

that schools with academy status will see improved teaching and therefore improved learning? There is actually nothing about teaching and learning in the Bill; no mention is made of them. So I am left to conclude that the intention of the legislation is that these freedoms will somehow improve the quality of teaching and therefore the quality of learning. I do not believe that and I have never believed it.” The former Labour education

secretary, who said academies were perceived as “sexy” and “the club

where things were happening”, also claimed that the freedoms available to them were “illusory”, adding that the problem was not that schools do not have enough freedoms, but rather that they do not use them. Lord Hill, describing Baroness

Morris’s speech as “powerful and impassioned”, responded: “I recognise that education is about a lot more than statistics. Many headteachers of academies argue persuasively that academy freedoms have helped them and have helped them improve standards. The fact that more than 1,100 schools have already expressed an interest tells us something about the relationship that they feel they have with their local authority and how they think academy freedoms may help them to do a better job.” Other concerns raised during the discussion included the speed at

islation does not require consul- tation and although the Bill does not change that, he anticipated that schools “will want to consult parents about this, as they do at present”. He added: “The aim of the Bill is

to be enabling and permissive rather than coercive. Our wish is for schools to do this at their own pace.” Elsewhere during the debate,

which lasted almost six hours, the issue of academy SEN provision concerned many speakers. Another theme running through the discus- sions was the local impact that new schools will have, with many concerned that a “two-tier” system could develop, with academies sap- ping resources away from existing establishments. The Bill will be debated a third

time in the Lords before it goes to the House of Commons later this year.

• For more coverage of the SEN and two-tier system debates, and more coalition news, see page 4.

(How will you choose your education union?)

Qualifying in 2010? ATL is the only member-led union to offer dedicated NQ newsletters, interactive website and discounted Masters through Edge Hill University. Our publications will help you create your CV, give you interview tips plus advice on how to meet the parents and manage classroom behaviour.

Join ATL and receive FREE membership until 2012 and half price until 2013 Visit or call 0845 057 7000*

Terms and conditions available online. *Local rates apply. UK news n SecEd: On your side n Moral support n Independent thinking n NQT diary n Managing ICT n At the chalkface


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16
Produced with Yudu -