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Academies are damaging our children's life chances and putting our most seasoned educationists out of action

If Ed Balls has been having any secret doubts about the academies programme, they must have grown considerably when he read last week's TES.

The headlines of four major articles alone should have got him worried: "Non-teacher head quits after just five months"; "School on hold until Edutrust investigated"; "Academy pay-offs total millions"; and "Academies could create two-tier system".

These reports confirm all the concerns of those of us who have been campaigning across the country against our schools being handed over to private sponsors - many of whom are property developers, used car dealers, hedge fund operators and merchant bankers.

Academies, we have protested, are not accountable to local communities; they are a halfway house to privatisation; they are socially divisive; and they give carte blanche to sponsors who seek to erode staff pay and conditions.

Parents and pupils at Richard Rose Central Academy in Carlisle - like the teachers at Sinfin School in Derby who took strike action to stop their school being turned into an academy - have shown that plans to privatise our schools can be fought.

The union leaders you quote are right: Richard Rose should be returned to local-authority control. But so should all the others. Ed Balls should abandon Lord Adonis's disastrous academies programme before it can inflict any more damage on our children.

Ken Muller, Formerly head of history at Islington Green School (now City of London Academy, Islington).

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