Opposition as council wants all Lincolnshire schools turned into academies

Lincolnshire County Council on Tuesday recommended all county schools should become academies, despite vehement opposition from campaigners and unions.

As previously reported, academies are schools that have opted out of local authority control.

They are funded by central government and sponsors, and have a large amount of freedom over how the school is run, from curriculum to finance.

A school’s governors are the only people with the power to turn it into an academy.

Unison Branch Chairperson Clare Rowley said: “Our union has campaigned against academies since their inception.

“They are divisive, they open up the way to the privatisation of education, and they mean further inequality of opportunity for pupils.

“We believe that the cornerstone of education policy should be the development of every child’s potential, regardless of postcode or economic class.

The County Council should promote its public role in coordinating education and safeguarding standards – not advocate the breaking up of democratic accountability.”

As schools would be turned into academies, there are fears that jobs would be on the line as well.

Janet Hutchinson, a Unison spokesperson in Children’s Services, said: “Some 3,000 members of our branch are employed to support the education of children in Lincolnshire.

“We are concerned that as more and more schools become academies, there will be a threat to their conditions of employment, and more importantly to the strategic provision of a balanced education system.”

Patricia Bradwell, the Executive Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “We can’t ignore the fact that more schools are increasingly changing to academy status and as this continues it will leave us with a smaller number of schools who need support.

“This proposal is ensuring that support is in place. The council has children’s interests at the heart of this.

“Any decision about becoming an academy rests with the governing bodies but we want to provide some clear guidance to schools who may be unsure of what to do.”

A petition with 174 signatures calls on Lincolnshire County Council to implement a full and proper consultation within the county about the academies programme and the future of education in Lincolnshire.

The petitioner, Sarah Dodds, argues the new policy would “privatise the entire education system in Lincolnshire with no regard to the wishes and views of parents, children, or teachers.”