Apparent stampede for academy status throws up clouds of dust

30th April 2010 at 01:00

Academies pose a mortal threat to any system of comprehensive education under democratic control. Your latest editorial, with its characteristic anti-union animus and disdainful talk of "Much guff ... reserved for academies' 'democratic deficit'", glosses over basic facts ("Heads can see clearly through academies mist", April 23).

Teaching staff have no right to any place on the governing body of an academy. Nor does the academy have to provide a place on the governing body for more than a single parent governor. The majority of people on any academy's governing body will be appointees of the sponsor.

Whatever the inadequacies of the present system of governance in the maintained sector, it is clear that the structures set up for governance of an academy prevent those who work in, or send their children to, such a school from having anything other than the most token say in how that school is run. Instead, what the sponsor says goes. Why use The TES to give succour to what is at best paternalism, rather than to espouse more thorough-going democracy?

Patrick Yarker, Supply teacher and visiting fellow in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia, Norwich.

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