Cat Smith

Working for Lancaster and Fleetwood

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Education policy should be about quality, not structure

School.jpgThis week I have had many constituents, parents and teachers, contact me about the Government’s plans to force all schools to become academies in a top down, costly reorganisation of our schools, which nobody wants and schools don’t need.

At a time when schools are facing huge challenges of falling budgets for the first time since the mid-1990s, chronic shortages of teachers and not enough good school places, this unnecessary and unfounded distraction of the Government’s will only harm standards in our schools. At a time when there are huge challenges facing our schools, to ask head teachers to take time, money and effort away from raising standards, to deal with an unnecessary and unfounded obsession with ‘academising’ all schools is irresponsible and reckless, and will only harm standards.

The vast majority of non-academies affected by this policy will be primary schools, over 80 per-cent of which are already assessed as being good or outstanding. This policy is evidently not about school improvement, but is instead more evidence that the government are obsessed with school structures at the expense of what matters most – the quality of teaching in the classroom. Rather than pitting types of school against each other, this Government should be channelling all their efforts and those of frontline staff in schools into driving up standards across all types of schools.

I will fiercely oppose these attempts to force all schools to become academies. Rather than cut parents out of the picture, I want to put local parents and communities at the heart of decisions when it comes to their children’s schools.