Saturday, 18 June 2011

Varndean Academy proposal - "literally written on the back of an envelope"!

This was just one of the fascinating revelations at a packed meeting of Varndean School Against Academies on Friday evening. It came from David Richards, who resigned as a governor in order to fight the proposal to turn Varndean School into an academy.

He also told us that the proposal was never pre-announced on an agenda.

Judging by the massive turnout of parents, it will not be easy for the Head and a few Governors to force this through.

Other speakers included Nick Childs of NUT, Alisdair Smith of the Anti-Academies Alliance and Denise Knutsen of Unison, who expressed concerns about what academy status would do to the ethos of the school, and how it would affect other schools in the area and the services provided by the local education authority. Also there is the concern of a small group of governors being able to set the pay and conditions of the school workforce.

We also heard from students and the NUT rep at the school who told us that, incredibly, all discussion of the academy proposal is "banned"! I suspect that this is going to be strongly challenged at every opportunity!

Local MP Caroline Lucas pointed out that the ConDems were bent on the privatisation of education.

Gove thinks academies are popular with parents. Not on last nights evidence!

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