Eastbourne MP ‘unhappy’ with forced academies plan

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell's maiden speech in the House of Commons SUS-150715-093237001
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell's maiden speech in the House of Commons SUS-150715-093237001

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has raised concerns over government plans to force all schools to become academies by 2022.

A former teacher, Mrs Ansell met with education minister Nick Gibb to discuss her concerns last week.

She told the minister she was unhappy with several proposals, including no requirement for a parent governor role in the academy system.

Mrs Ansell said, “I made it clear to the minister that I believe the case for academies per se has not yet been made.

“In some areas they have been a success, but in others they have not been so effective and local authorities still have a vital role to play in protecting vulnerable pupils or those with special needs.

“I explained this forced change was not offering a freedom of choice for schools and, omitting parents from any governor role, would be taking an important function from the community. I called on the minister to ensure that parents have an identifiable role in any new proposed system.

“I’m certainly not against academies and I can see they have an important role to play in raising standards in certain circumstances, but I believe it’s absolutely for school communities to determine their own future, with parents too at the heart of decision making.

Mrs Ansell also said she feared the pace of change was too fast and that teachers were worried about the future of the education system.

Teaching unions have also raised their concerns over the plans - which would remove all English schools from council control.

Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said, “Incredibly, this is all being done despite the fact that there is no evidence that academies improve the educational results of children.

“We must all speak out to keep education in the hands of our communities and stop this reckless and destructive policy.”

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