Liz speaks out against forced academies

As a Greater Manchester MP I have real concerns about the Government’s plan to remove all our schools from Local Authority control. Greater Manchester has just signed a devolution deal yet at the same time our powers to make local decisions about local schools are being snatched away from us. It simply doesn’t make sense that the power for school improvement has not been devolved down in the devolution deal.

I want to see transparency and accountability in our schools’ governance. Forced academisation is a waste of money and removes the community and parents even further away from education decision making.

I’m frequently contacted by parents with issues concerning some local schools, yet if all the schools in Heywood & Middleton, including the primaries, become academies, what help will I be able to give them? I will no longer be able to contact the Council as they will no longer have responsibility.

Rochdale Council have just approved a motion that regrets the move to turn every school into an academy; believes it will be the end of local authority involvement in schools and believes it will have an overall negative impact on education, especially on those pupils in already struggling schools.

The Council has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, expressing the opinion that the policy if forcing every school to become an academy is the wrong policy and should be scrapped.

I’m sure that Rochdale won’t be the only council to do this. Even the Education Chief in the Prime Minister’s own Oxfordshire Council, Melinda Tilley, agrees. She said that the forced academisation of schools is “just Big Brother gone mad.”

I agree with her. It’s time to consign this costly, unnecessary, top-down reorganisation of our schools to Room 101. That is why I have joined local councillors and fellow Greater Manchester MP's to send a clear message to the government; 'Hands Off Our Schools'. 

For more information about the Hands Off Our Schools campaign or to sign the petition, please visit www.handsoffourschools.co.uk

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