Bone of contention: the Academy conversion argument

17 Mar

Daily prompt: Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.

Easy. Academies.

My view: anti Academies

SCHOOL STRIKE

In case you have not read my blog before, I am violently against academies. I think it is a sneaky way of selling off the school system in the UK, giving it a posh guise so that the general public don’t really notice. 

Schools are being sold the idea under the promise that they can control their budget more than they can right now, they can tailor their curriculum to meet the needs of their student intake and therefore be more successful. 

BUT…. 

The budget then comes from the DFE directly, and the school effectively becomes a business. Why is that a problem? 

Teachers no longer will be under the control of the blue book, a set of rules and regulations that unions fought hard to get, and which protect teachers as a way of ensuring the profession remains ‘professional’ and protects the working conditions of teachers to ensure a work life balance. Schools who are an Academy, could, if they wanted to, get rid of all the existing pay and conditions and make up their own. I am sure I do not have to tell you how dangerous that is. Schools who are Academies can also put whatever they like into their curriculum. How will central government make sure that all children get a broad and balanced curriculum? Schools who are Academies can make their own pay structure and do not have to adhere to the central one for teachers. This could segregate areas even more than they are right now, and the country could become divided according to pay band. It also opens the gates for bribery. 

The most worrying thing of all though, is that Academies do not have to employ qualified teachers if they do not want to. Did you know that private schools have beenm allowed to do this for years already. This is a step closer to privatising schools, devaluing teachers and getting education on the cheap. 

Who will be to blame when the standards slide? The teachers. Who will have least say in all this? yes, the teachers. 

It makes me cross that this is so major, could destroy the education system yet no one seems to know about it, let alone want to do anything about it. 

The opposing view: Pro academies

The benefits of turning schools into academies. I have had this debate several times recently in the staffroom. What would the benefits be? Our school just did it. let see: 

  • Skilled people without qualifications such as musicians, would be able to be employed as teachers in an academy. 
  • It saves some schools from complete closure under borough / county council  rule. 
  • It means special schools could tailor their curriculum to preparing students for independent life rather than GCSE’s / Entry Levels. 
  • It trusts schools to know how their money needs to be best spent 
  • Qualifications are not everything: having a degree doesn’t make you a good teacher

I have to say, I am struggling with this side of things, I really am. I have heard what other people say they believe are the benefits, and I just do not see it from that angle. I can only see this whole thing as a huge threat to the education system. 

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One Response to “Bone of contention: the Academy conversion argument”

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  1. Daily Prompt: Bone of Contention | My Atheist Blog - March 17, 2013

    […] Bone of contention: the Academy conversion argument | Being Special […]

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