Anti-academies

7th November 2008 at 00:00

I want to challenge the view that parents in Sheffield have given an "overwhelmingly positive response" to academy proposals ("Does X hit the spot in academy consultations?", TES, October 24).

The 70 per cent Yes vote for an academy at Parkwood High needs to be understood in its real context. Anti-academy campaigners were given two weeks' notice of the ballot and were refused access to parents' addresses. Many parents we encountered expressed surprise that the issue was controversial, had no idea about the change of governance an academy involved, and believed they were simply being asked to approve spending a lot of money on a new building.

It is remarkable that we were able to persuade 30 per cent to vote against an academy on principle. This result leaves us confident that we can see off any bids to push through academies.

The council has given assurances that it intends to ballot every school wishing to become a trust or an academy. Heads and governors going down this route now know that they will have a fight on their hands.

Ben Morris, Sheffield Anti-Academies Alliance, Yorkshire.

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