Questions for Sir Cyril Taylor

11th November 2005 at 00:00
Sir Cyril Taylor ("Only the weak shall enter this kingdom," TES, October 21) follows a well-worn script which poses academies as saviours of inner-city children from underachieving comprehensives.

Like other academy supporters, he is strong on the depiction of underachievement measured by exam results but silent on context. Here are some questions that academy supporters need to address if the rest of us are to take them seriously.

How does taking the governance of a school away from local accountability improve it? How does giving control of admissions policy to academies help in planning places and address the needs of the community surrounding an academy? How do academies fit in with the policy of placing schools at the heart of communities? On what basis is educational improvement likely when placed in the hands of rich individuals and private corporations that have no expertise in education and who are motivated by profit?

How can an outlay of pound;5 billion of public funds be justified on a programme that has come in for criticism from respected organisations? Can they guarantee the programme will not have a negative impact on national education spending and surrounding schools? Could we have honesty about the performance of existing academies?

W Anderson 11a School Road Moseley, Birmingham

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