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Academisation plans provoke anger among parents

Government's controversial proposal could be debated in Parliament after hundreds of thousands of opponents sign petitions

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Proposals to turn all schools into academies are expected to be debated in Parliament after two petitions condemning the idea attracted more than 100,000 signatures each.

And Nicky Morgan, education secretary, faced heavy criticism from Mumsnet users after she used a guest post on the popular parents' website to explain why she believed academisation was the “best way forward” for schools.

In the guest post, Ms Morgan wrote: “We need to put our trust into the hands of the people that know best how to run our schools – the teachers – and the academy system does just that….It is every parent’s right to know their child is in an excellent school, no matter where in the country they live. I am confident that this move will guarantee a higher school standard with each academy held to account for the performance of their pupils.”

But the overwhelming majority of the hundreds of Mumsnet users who responded to Ms Morgan’s plans were unconvinced.

“I think what is proposed is the opposite of focusing on the quality and calibre of teachers,” one mother said.

“The assumption that what’s good for one is good for all is quite simply wrong – and demonstrated by looking at the variability of success of academies in England now,” said another.

One parent posted: “I am a senior leader in a very successful primary school… These academy proposals will see me off from applying for headships. I do not want to be a leader within this proposed experiment. I suspect many others will feel similarly.”

People posting on Mumsnet included links to a petition on the UK Parliament website, which calls on the government to scrap plans to force state schools to become academies. The petition currently has 101,204 signatures.

There is also a second petition on the website asking for a public inquiry and referendum over turning all schools into academies which has 112,553 signatures.

Parliament's website states that "petitions which reach 100,000 signatures are almost always debated". 

Protest march

Meanwhile, teaching unions are stepping up their opposition with the NUT and ATL organising a protest march past the Department for Education (DfE) followed by a rally in central London on Wednesday. 

The white paper Educational Excellence Everywhere was published last Thursday and said that by the end of 2020 all remaining maintained schools will have become academies or will be in the process of conversion.

It also stated that academy trusts would no longer be required to reserve places for elected parents on governing boards.

The Department for Education was asked to comment. 

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