Academies U-turn - 'Good riddance to a dreadful policy,' says high-profile head

6th May 2016 at 15:47
ASCL Nicky Morgan
Geoff Barton, the headteacher that said he would be the "last person dragged kicking and screaming to be an academy head" reacts to the government U-turn on universal academisation

Well that didn’t take long. My guess is that Nicky Morgan’s Friday isn’t feeling as good as mine.

Having a major new education policy announced by the Chancellor was humiliation enough, but that is now trumped (if you’ll forgive the expression) by her having to announce the inevitable U-turn.

Forced academisation was always a misguided policy. None of us knew quite what the problem was that it was going to solve. No one knew why the Government was picking a fight with people running good and outstanding schools that were popular with parents. No one anywhere seemed able to explain why the policy was so important when it hadn’t been in the manifesto. And no one knew quite how it was going to help people like me to make schools like mine better.

So good riddance to a dreadful policy.

There is one thing that disappoints me. I had claimed I would be the last person dragged kicking and screaming to be an academy head. It looks like that now won’t be the case. I was wondering whether a crack team of educational stormtroopers was secretly being trained up to wrest control of the school out of my hands. Now we’ll never know.

One last plea: could we have policies in future that help us to get more teachers into our classrooms. And could the money earmarked for academy lawyers now be redirected to where it belongs – into the nation’s schools.

Geoff Barton is headteacher of King Edward VI School, a 14-18 comprehensive school in Suffolk. He tweets as @realgeoffbarton

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