Last week I met with education minister Nick Gibb to discuss my concerns over new plans to force all schools to become academies.
As a former teacher, I told the minister I am unhappy with several proposals, including no requirement for a parent governor role in the academy system.
I think the pace of change is too fast and that teachers are worried about the future.
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.
This forced change is 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 want the minister to ensure that parents have an identifiable role in any new proposed system.
I’m certainly not against academies – many are great – 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.
I have real concerns parents are to be disenfranchised from the schools their children will be attending on the basis that they will not have the professional experience to run an academy.
I have invited the minister to visit Eastbourne in the near future to meet with local head teachers to discuss these concerns.
Challenging domestic violence
I am pleased to support Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne in her push against domestic violence.
The statistics around domestic violence have always been shocking. It is often said that a woman will be ‘abused’ in one form or another some 35 times on average before she seeks help, and that one in four women will at some point in their lives suffer this abuse. It’s also true to say that, on average, a perpetrator of this horrendous crime will have six different victims.
PCC Katy Bourne has done much good work on this since she has been in her post, increasing help and support for victims, and I am supporting her drive to now address the perpetrators.
Through a new project by SafeLives, aimed at the most dangerous offenders at risk of causing serious harm or death - this is an attempt to disrupt behaviour and tackle the problem at its root cause – whilst further ensuring the safety of victims. This ground breaking new initiative deserves support.