Results of a survey passed to the Anti Academy Alliance suggest that only 35 schools have decided to enter in to a Faustian pact with Michael Gove by taking up his offer of a fast track to academy status.
If this is true, it is a welcome set-back to the Con Dem government’s plans to dismantle locally supported comprehensive state education and create in its place a socially divisive hierarchy of academy, “free” and second-class schools, with its upper tiers accountable only to Michael Gove himself.
The weakness of the educational arguments for Gove’s academies are the true reason for his use of procedures usually reserved for anti-terror legislation to rush the Academies Bill through Parliament without proper debate.
Gove claims he has an electoral mandate for expediting the passage of his bill. This is a Big Lie matched only by David Cameron’s Big Society.
Only 35% of the electorate voted in May’s general election for the Tories and their policy of putting “rocket boosters” under New Labour’s academies programme and encouraging the creation of free-market schools. The Lib Dems have long been opposed to academies and the creeping privatisation of our state schools. Many people voted for them, precisely for this reason.
The Anti Academies Alliance, therefore, welcomes recent press reports that a number of more principled Lib Dem MPs are planning to vote against the Academies Bill tomorrow. If enough of them stick to the Lib Dems’ previous policy commitments, Gove’s plans can be stopped in their tracks.
Otherwise, academies and free schools will have to be resisted wherever and whenever they are proposed.
To quote Alasdair Smith, National Secretary of the Anti Academies Alliance:
“The Academies Bill, if passed, threatens to change fundamentally our state education system. It will have been enacted without proper parliamentary scrutiny or debate with parents, people who work in schools or the wider community.
If this is what is meant by the Big Society, then we are going to be ready to mount our own Big Resistance.”
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