The Lib Dems and Labour today forced Bucks County Council to speak up against the Government’s proposals to force all schools to become academies.
"Academisation" means transferring schools to private sector companies funded by central Government.
BCC debated a motion on “academisation” at a Council meeting today. It was proposed by the Lib Dems and seconded by Labour. The Leader of BCC slammed the Government for a lack of consultation on what he called unnecessary changes which were uncosted and would put a financial burden on local authorities.
Councillor Robin Stuchbury, Labour’s Councillor for Buckingham, who seconded the motion, said,
“The Local Government Association, to which BCC belongs, opposes the Government’s proposals saying it is “vital we concentrate on the quality of education rather than on the legal status of a school.”
The LGA opposes the “transfer of significant powers relating to education to unelected civil servants who parents and residents are unable to hold to account at the ballot box.”
These civil servants work for the Department of Education which is struggling with its existing workload, cannot balance its budget and doesn’t know where its money is spent.
The LGA also has “serious concerns about whether councils will have adequate powers to properly discharge their remaining education duties, for example in school place planning and protecting vulnerable pupils. This includes children and young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities.
Councils all over the country, many of them Tory-led, are joining the LGA in openly opposing the Government’s proposals and expressing their concerns about the Government’s proposals.
I am delighted that the motion that I put down with the Lib Dems has forced BCC to consider its line on the proposals and delighted BCC has joined these Councils and is speaking out in opposition to the Government’s proposals. “
Rachel Knight, Wycombe Labour’s spokesperson on education said
“There is not one shred of evidence to show that academies provide, or will provide, a better education for our children. On the other hand, the Local Government Association has published research that local authority schools outperform academies.
We know this imposed re-organisation will take teachers’ time away from teaching and will cost hundreds of millions of pounds – much of which the local authorities and the schools will have to bear. Money which should have gone towards the education of our children will go to lawyers and consultants.
In future local authorities, including BCC, will have no responsibility for the running of schools and there will be no local accountability. BCC will continue to have the responsibility to provide enough school place for pupils but no power to make this happen. This makes no sense.
Already we are seeing children – including primary children - having to travel long distances to school because there are not enough local school places. As all our school are forced to be academies, the situation will get worse as BCC will have no power to expand school places.
Perhaps the Government will listen to its own supporters in the local authorities.”
1. Constituency Labour Parties in Bucks are united in condemning the "academisation" of our schools.
Already all of our grammar schools have been privatised, along with most of our upper schools, without any say by people in Bucks. Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' assets in Bucks have already been given away to companies run by unelected and unaccountable directors.
The Government now proposes to privatise all of our schools by 2020. If it succeeds, primary and secondary education with be provided by autonomous private sector companies competing for pupils. Parents and their children will be in the hands of the free market.
This is damaging for pupils, damaging for the parents, and damaging for the country.