Staying on the theme of education (and as a parent and a school governor, I can’t conceive of much that’s more important) yesterday I took part in a small but effective demonstration against the “forced academisation” – horrible term – of two local primary schools. Both are in former mining villages now grown into a larger urban area, historically experiencing higher than average levels of unemployment and health issues consequent on the collapse of the previously dominant industry.
So far, so representative of the neo-liberal UK of the last three decades or so.
By the ‘mobile goalpost’ method of assessment favoured by OFSTED, both schools have been deemed “inadequate”. They have both been previously inspected and both have been issued a “notice to improve”.
Both have recently been inspected again by OFSTED hit squads of three or four officials, who observed only “16 to 18 lessons (or part-lessons)” and took written submissions from a total of 36 parents. Both reports admitted that improvements had been made, but had not yet had time to bed in. Despite this, the academy order was issued to both schools last week, dismissing the elected governors and appointing a sponsor without reference to parents or staff. Hence the parent-led protest, a march through the rain, and a petition delivered to a Tory MP who has previously blithely dismissed the issue.
Democracy’s great, as long as you fall in line with the decision already made by the Secretary of State for Education…