Multi-academy trusts could be abolished by a future Labour government under plans being considered at the party’s conference this afternoon.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has already previewed plans she will announce today to stop schools being converted into academies, scrap the free-school programme and bring existing academies into the party’s planned National Education Service (NES).
But a motion due to be voted upon this afternoon proposes to go further by scrapping multi-academy trusts.
It says that “proposals to wind up MATs and turn over control and management of schools to local democratically controlled structures should be developed urgently”.
The motion, moved by the Nottingham East constituency Labour Party and seconded by Truro and Falmouth, cites a Tes report in August about academy heads in Kent refusing to accept looked after children.
It says that this is “symptomatic of the regressive nature of the unaccountable, inefficient academisation programme that is continuing apace across England”.
Labour 'not radical enough on schools'
The motion describes academisation as “incompatible with an egalitarian and democratic education system serving the many, not the few”.
The motion refers to the draft charter for the NES, unveiled by Ms Rayner last year, which said that parents and communities would be “empowered, via appropriate democratic means, to influence change where it is needed and ensure that the education system meets their needs”.
The motion says the principles of accountability and collaboration within the draft charter “cannot be implemented whilst the current fragmented and semi-privatised school system persists”.
It adds: “Conference agrees that in government, that Labour Party will bring all schools back under local democratic control, including academy and multi-academy trusts”.
It calls for the Labour to work with the Socialist Educational Association (SEA), unions, academics and others to take the proposed policy forward “as a matter of urgency”.
At a standing-room only SEA fringe meeting last night, many party activists criticised the Labour leadership for not having a more radical schools policy, and called for academies to be returned to local authorities.
The conference will also consider a report by a party commission, which shows that the party is looking at the further education and adult education sectors for inspiration about how to hold academies to account to their local communities.
The conference is due to vote on the motion after Ms Rayner’s speech, due to take place at 5.15pm.