Sunday 15 May 2016

Sedgehill - a warning of what forced academisation means for schools

As I have explained in a previous post, Ofsted's decision to label Sedgehill School in Lewisham as ‘inadequate’ is the "sad culmination of eighteen months of destructive political interference. ... Worse, that political interference is set to continue, with the newly enacted Education & Adoption Act 2016 meaning Sedgehill will now be automatically converted into an academy, and without consultation".

With a daughter of my own at the school, I fully understand the anger of Sedgehill parents as the shamefully undemocratic nature of the legislation is becoming clear to them. Of course, if the Government succeeds in imposing its White Paper plans - even if revised according to Nicky Morgan's latest announcements - then many thousands of parents could soon be facing the same disgraceful situation.

"Education not Privatisation" - Sedgehill students demonstrate outside Lewisham Town Hall, December 2014

I have made this comment to the press tonight as London NUT Regional Secretary, linking the situation at Sedgehill to our wider campaign against forced academisation:

"Disgracefully, this Government's latest legislation means that Sedgehill's parents, students and staff have no legal right whatsoever to have their say about the future of their school. Sedgehill will now be forced into becoming an academy,  without any consultation, even over which academy sponsor will be taking over the school.

Sedgehill's school community made its strong opposition to academisation very clear in the mass lobby outside Lewisham Town Hall at the end of 2014. Once again, their views are going to be ignored by politicians who say they care about education but then refuse to listen to those who will be most affected by their decisions.

This undemocratic forced conversion of schools into academies has nothing to do with improving education - there is no evidence that it will do so. This policy is being imposed for political purposes - to impose an agenda of deregulation, cuts and privatisation on our schools.

The National Union of Teachers will continue to campaign against the Government's plans to force schools into becoming academies. We are also balloting members across England for national strike action to oppose the threats being made to teachers' jobs, terms and conditions from such damaging education policies. In defending teachers' conditions, we are also defending students' learning conditions". 

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