21 March 2016
Caroline Lucas, Green MP, has criticised the Government’s plans to turn all schools into academies, labelling it a “deeply undemocratic” step.
The Government has, this week, revealed its plan to force every school to become an academy (schools funded by central government, not the local authority). It’s a move that, Lucas feels, removes the link between parents and those who make decisions about their children’s education, “leaving them unaccountable to local communities”, she explained.
In her view it’s part of the wider Conservative ideological vision: “This is part of a sustained attack on local government. Funding has been slashed, services have been cut and now they are seeing this outrageous attack on their vital role in local education. I fear the Government want to lead us down the path of the privatisation of education.”
The issue is that forced academisation will mean all schools will be obliged to cut the link with their local authority. Lucas believes that this close, community relationship is vital for a school: “Local authorities are needed to ensure good planning and fairness across a local area. They can provide for the efficient pooling of resources, including legal help and support services for pupils with special educational needs.”
“From a Government that bangs the ‘localism’ drum this attack on local authorities is particularly shameful.” And she adds, “we need to stand up for local education. Properly supported and funded local authority schools can best help meet our young people's educational needs… we need to bring our schools back under local democratic oversight, not erode it further.”