A few days ago I read this article in The Independent and I just HAVE to respond! http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-thriving-schools-to-close-to-make-room-for-academies-8313131.html
I think that the academy project was originally a good idea but like most good ideas, success has let it has spiral out of control. The reason I initially supported academies was that I could understand that failing schools needed the flexibility that perhaps Local Government couldn’t allow them to have in order to improve their situation. However, under this government there has been a huge expansion in the scheme and has gone too far.
For Sixth Form I changed schools and attended a state boarding school (as a day pupil) in the Norfolk countryside. This decision was taken because the school in question had much better resources available to it than my previous one and had very high success rates in A-Levels and also offered better support for university applications. This school is now in the process of becoming an academy. They will attract over £400,000 in additional funding per year and have freedom from the national curriculum and Local Government control. I understand that each school looks at their case individually and when they are offered extra funding in exchange for change, if they can manage to succeed without Local Government boundaries that they will accept any proposals for an increase in their budget. However, what I cannot stand is the affect that both academies and free schools have on other good and middling state schools within the local area.
It is unbelievable that a school that is deemed ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted (such as the one in Bedford in the article) should be threatened with closure due to a funding crisis. Not all parents want to send their children to academies and free schools, yet it seems many are having less of a choice each year which is simply unfair. It is unfair for the pupils who will have to suffer upheaval potentially during an important time in their academic life, it is unfair for the parents who may have to pay more in transport costs to send their child to the next best state school (which could be miles away) and more importantly it is unfair on the teachers who have worked so hard to get the school to such a good standard of quality.
Academy status should be reserved for failing schools as an opportunity to improve their situation and not for schools with excellent academic records where it is actually unnecessary and takes away funding from other services.