LETTER - Academy union fears

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LIKE the leader of the council, the teaching unions also have grave concerns about the number of schools which are converting to academies.

Some schools say their reason for converting is to gain extra money, but these schools still have to buy back from somewhere the services the local authority currently provides, also the amount of money academies will receive has already been reduced by the government.

Others say it gives them greater freedoms, although there is nothing a school can do as an academy that they couldn’t do before, apart from changing the pay and working conditions of their staff!

People just have to remember what happened to the further education colleges after incoporation during the 1990s, when the colleges became independent of the local authorities. Less money was spent on teaching and learning, and more and more was spent on administrating the colleges. Further education lecturers have far less job security – 40 per cent are on daily or short-term contracts.

Many of these institutions are now facing huge financial deficits.

The academy program will result in far less democratic accountabily of our schools and give parents less of a voice when it comes to the choice of schools and the education of their children. It is extremely worrying to hear some academies will no longer have any local authority representatives on their governing bodies. I would suggest if parents and carers find out that their child’s school is considering converting to an academy, they should make sure they get informaion for both sides.

Sally Kincaid

Divisional Secretary

Wakefield NUT