Greens say formal partnership could open up schools to academy takeover
June 7th, 2016
Greens have expressed deep concerns following a Council decision to consult on creating a limited company or trust to improve the city’s schools. Greens say this is a first, dangerous step towards setting up a Brighton and Hove multi-academy trust and removing democratic oversight and parental involvement from school management.
The decision has also been criticised by the Hands Off Our Schools campaign, led by parents, teachers and unions. Campaigners have argued that the council’s proposal is intended to prepare schools for academisation, and are urging people to join their campaign for “locally accountable, creative & fully inclusive schools with qualified teachers for ALL our children” .
The decision by the Council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee yesterday (Monday 6 June) comes after Labour Councillor Warren Morgan said in March that the Council leadership would “seek to create a co-operative trust to run our schools”, in response to the Government’s statement that it wants to see all schools become academies .
Convenor of the Green Group, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said:
“Greens wholeheartedly support good partnership working between schools, it’s why in administration we enhanced that working. It has worked well over the last few years as it provides a flexible arrangement tailored to the needs of individual schools. Although there is always room for improvement, we believe this is best achieved by focusing Council resources on driving up standards rather than devising an entirely new structure for school governance.
“There is no need and certainly no demand from parents for a limited company or other such entity. Should this new structure go through, we are concerned that ultimately, parents may have less say in their children’s education.
“Council officers have stated that these are rapidly changing times, yet the council is now committed to a costly consultation on options that could substantially change before any decision is made. This is wholly premature and will waste precious Council resources which should be focused on improving attainment gaps and school performance. Tinkering with school structure is an unnecessary distraction which could be highly damaging to educational outcomes.
“We must continue to work as a city to keep our schools under the management of the local authority. Campaigns to save schools across the country have already started to have an impact, and will continue to do so. In the city in the recent past at Hove Park and at Varndean, parents, pupils and governors have roundly rejected Academy proposals. Will Labour allow them, and the parents of other schools, to make their own decisions?
“That’s why we are encouraging parents and teachers to oppose the creation of a limited company, co-operative trust or similar structure that will move schools further away from local control.”