I have no problem with a school wanting to have more control over its own affairs and budgets. It can apply for Academy status and enjoy some extra freedoms. Some of the new Academies have been most successful. The main aim of education policy must be to promote excellence and expand opportunity for all students.
Mrs Morgan, the Education Secretary, now wishes to require all schools to seek these extra freedoms and powers. Some teachers and Heads do not like this idea. Some Councils feel they are doing a good job as the Local Education Authority and are not happy to lose control of their schools.
I am taking up these issues for constituents with the government. I joined a meeting with Mrs Morgan earlier this week, when a few Conservative MPs argued against compulsory conversion to Academies.I put constituents’ objections to current plans to her. I pointed out the contradiction of favouring policies of greater independence and local choice, but then making local schools and Councils all do what the centre tells them.Belief in freedom and choice, and to greater local decision making power is a good thing. Requiring people in local schools and Councils to choose one version of freedom is not necessarily popular with those who disagree with the choice on offer. I am expecting more meetings and discussions before this legislation is finalised.
I am pleased to hear that Mrs Morgan has decided to cancel the policy of making it compulsory for good schools to become academies. I have just received a letter from her explaining changes to get proposals, which also include more freedom of choice and protection for small rural primaries.