Ealing Labour Group is the latest to join a growing number of Councils from all political parties, in opposing the government’s plans to force all schools to become academies.
In launching this petition, the Labour Group is calling on local people to make their voices heard as part of a mounting national campaign demanding that government rethinks its plans for forced academisation of all schools. In effect, the government’s proposals, will end the longstanding but vital link between schools and local democracy.
Instead the Ealing Labour Group’s petition calls on the government to abandon its plans and work with schools, councils and parents to find further ways in which to drive up educational standards, rather than resorting to a top down bureaucratic reorganisation that could cost the education system £1.3bn.
Ealing has an excellent track record in delivering accessible education for all its pupils. In 2015 Ealing secondary schools were identified in HMCI’s annual report as the most improved schools across Local Authorities in England. Of its 14 high schools, all were rated good or outstanding by OFSTED. Of the 69 infant, primary and junior schools, 59 are also rated good or outstanding.
Currently, Ealing provides local support for schools, including advice on academic and management issues as well as school buildings. It also plays a crucial role in helping local schools to share good practice and work together. Officers have built up considerable expertise in tackling specific local challenges in Ealing, which will be dismantled under the government’s proposals and will be to the detriment of the borough’s young people. Ealing council is investigating setting up its own academy trust to try and protect the local knowledge and co-operation that currently exists.
Ealing’s cabinet member for children and young people, Cllr Binda Rai said: “Ealing Labour councillors are determined to improve the life chances of local young people through providing them with access to the best possible education. Here in Ealing, we have an outstanding record of success with the council and schools working closely together in the best interest of our young people. Locally we are able to provide support as and when it is needed, based on local knowledge, which is an important factor in driving up standards and it is now being threatened by the government’s proposals.”
She added “This excellent local supportive two way relationship that so successfully drives up standards, is on the brink of destruction by Nicky Morgan’s ill thought through White Paper. It does not make any sense to centralise our schools and distance them from the areas they serve. We will oppose these plans in any way we can to protect the education of our young people and continue with the fight to preserve local democratic accountability in our schools”
Ealing’s Labour Leader, Cllr Julian Bell said: “This kind of top down reorganisations divert money away from the frontline, where it is needed. You would have thought that the government had learnt its lesson from the disastrous reorganisation of the NHS, but no, it now wants to launch an attack on our schools. Forced academisation is and answer to a problem that doesn't exists. None will benefit by forcing successful schools to change the way they are run against their wishes. For this reason, we will be sending a clear message to the government that this reorganisation is unacceptable and wrong for our young people.”
You can sign the petition here