Cameron’s Academies

david cameron academy vision 255

David Cameron recently set out his vision for the British schooling system by claiming he wants to give all schools the freedom to turn into academies, not just the “failing” and “coasting” schools.

In June it was announced that over 1,000 “coasting” schools are set to become academies, however now DC intends to offer this opportunity to all schools regardless of their results and standing. This move, coupled with the announcements made about free schools after the election, has now become a staple aspect of the conservatives education policy. A true advocate of academies, Cameron seems to believe that by “privatising” schools and taking away the power of the local authority it will lead to public service reform, “at a time when the labour party is giving up on public service reform and appealing to its left-wing base, I believe it is a moment for a Conservative majority government to be bolder still”.

But what actually is an academy?

  • An academy is an independent, state funded school that operates outside of local authority.
  • Academies don’t receive money from local councils like normal state schools however they receive money directly from the government.
  • A head teacher or principal still run the school, however they are overseen by individual charitable bodies called academy trusts which are often part of an academy chain.
  • Academies have sponsors, such as businesses, universities, other schools, faith groups or voluntary groups.
  • Academies don’t have to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times, they do however still need to follow the same rules on admissions, special education needs and exclusions as state schools do.
  • Academies are also subject to inspection by Ofsted.

Cameron has accused local authorities of not taking action on failing schools in the past and said that his government would be ‘utterly intolerant of failure’ and regional school commissioners and Ofsted would intervene “very, very quickly” if things went wrong at any academy or free school.  According to Prime Minister the introduction of academies has seen “a million more children in ’good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools” and academies that are sponsored by schools had seen vast improvements in their results since they were taken over and given extra independence and assistance.

The government has already brought forward legislation to force failing and coasting schools into academies with the belief that putting power in the hands of the head teacher and the teachers rather than “bureaucrats” will help further improve schools. But is he right? Will schools becoming academies turn out positive influence on the education system? Why even bother having a National Curriculum if academies don’t need to follow it?


3 thoughts on “Cameron’s Academies

  1. Would you buy a second hand car from Cameron.
    Does he send HIS children to Academies so why would anyone with half a brain send their child?
    Academies cost more to run and are allowed to pay there staff less they and they are currently the biggest group of failing schools. As they DO NOT have to follow the national set out rules on what should be taught, Subjects to be taught are decided by the head teacher who may not be a qualified teacher also pupils are allowed to be taught by NON qualified teachers.

  2. Surely, if the school is being run by businesses , private patrons and churches they are going to be dependent on the constant flow of that support / funding. What if the business goes bankrupt? What if the teachers / headmaster do not agree with all the religious beliefs of the church/ society? Are they going to have their funding withdrawn? Is the curriculum going to be subject to the political beliefs of the owners / patrons. Yes , I believe education is being privatised and as history proves to us , a service that is privatised soon becomes inaccessible to the economically underprivileged. You want proof ? Ok… Who can afford to use the train these days? Is it easy to access a dentist in the UK? Can you afford to buy a house? If so , why do you have to resort to shared ownership and the purchasing of COUNCIL HOUSES and now even housing associations. This is back door PRIVATISATION. I am all for privatisation Cameron but please ask these private patrons to purchase these schools out of their own pocket. Do not give our schools away. These schools have been created with tax payers money , generations of payments. The school that I worked in had just become an academy run by a church. The headmaster said that the trust had no money. They were employing agency teachers . One class had 16 teachers from sept to just before Easter. There was no paper, no paint . There was assembly every morning taken by unqualified members of the church. The assemblies did not make sense. There were 4 heads of this school a top heavy administration that left no money for teachers and resources. Deputy heads employed their wives and members of the church were made higher level teaching assistants so they could take over from a qualified teachers and therefore save money. The trust had just spent a fortune on refurbishing their offices but when I asked for five new thesauruses I was told that the trust had no money for books. The LEA was set up to enforce standards of teaching and to balance and distribute funding and resources fairly. This is a nightmare.

  3. I agree with the comments above made by Stella and Rob.
    Are not academies an American ethos of education?
    Also contracting out public services or ‘Municipal services’ if you are a yank, again an American idea.
    So often we follow these American models, when there is nothing up with the models for education we have been using for years. They only needed reviewing and modernising.
    We will soon be contracting out breaking wind and breathing oxygen.

    I have worked for many Local Authorities, through the early days of ‘Compulsory competitive Tendering’, Best Value contracts and have experience having worked for contractors.
    Throughout my career to date, I have also worked as a Lecturer and now a work based trainer, self-employed, putting the mess wright for a college who has creamed off the apprenticeship funding and left the Learners, some who have not been visited for nearly three years, undertaking Level 2 qualifications.
    Therefore i speak from experience, started my Vocation as an apprentice, and trained to High Technical level. If i am honest, apprenticeship training is watered down.
    Incompetence is rife within education, and local authority.
    Inexperience people, back stabbing managers, with the people skills of a gerbil. I have met many.

    Maybe MR Cameron could enlighten us on his comfortable Eton to Oxford educational experiences, or vocational experiences. I await his reply in Ernest, whilst putting one foot in my grave.

    Yours V. Mildrew.

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