Opposition group against academies

TEACHERS, parents are governors are to set up a group opposing Lincolnshire County Council’s proposals to encourage all schools to become academies.

Save Our Schools held a meeting on Monday to discuss LCC’s plans for schools to join the CfBT - an umbrella academy trust.

Founding member Sarah Dodds believes the move is being forced through and could lead towards the ‘privatisation of education.’

She said: “The local authority is jumping too quickly and acting very hastily - there’s no need to take this decision at the moment when we still have a local authority that is viable, in fact, the executive member for children’s services Patricia Bradwell has said that herself.

“The most useful thing the council can do is to go back to schools and consult them about what they want to do.”

Key speakers at the meeting discussed their fears that a rushed conversion to academies could lead towards ‘social segregation’ and pupils having to travel long distances to attend schools and colleges.

Mrs Dodds has also expressed concerns regarding the relationship between the CfBT and LCC and is considering initiating a legal challenge on that basis.

Assistant director of children’s services at LCC, Andy Breckon, is also a CfBT employee and Mrs Dodds believes this means a vested interest lies behind LCC’s decision to encourage schools to join.

Having spoken with head teachers and governors, she believes many have been ‘railroaded’ into converting to academies under the instruction of the CfBT, which she feels is a manipulative tactic and is a failing on its condition as an impartial advisor.

In setting up the opposition group Mrs Dodds hopes to assist schools that are reluctant to convert to academies to oppose the decision.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive board met yesterday, after the Standard went to press, to adopt a new strategy for its role as the Local Education Authority.

The preferred recommendation of four options raised by the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee is to encourage all schools to convert to academy status under the CfBT.

With an anticipated education budget reduction of £28 million, it fears that more than half of the county’s primary schools could be faced with closure, if it does not change its current stance.

It is recommending the CfBT as a charitable organisation that has been providing educational services to LCC for many years. Unlike the majority of other academy sponsors, it has expressed a commitment to support any school in Lincolnshire rather than ‘cherry-picking’ large or successful schools.

To contact the opposition group search for Save Lincolnshire Schools on facebook.