Policy position paper:
Compulsory Academy Conversion
While Voice welcomes the Government’s vision for 'educational excellence everywhere' it is against achieving this through a rapid programme of compulsory academy conversion of all remaining local authority schools.
What goes on inside schools is what matters and guarantees success for pupils, not how a school is organised or governed.
Voice is against rapid and compulsory academisation and questions government preoccupation with systems and structures which distract teachers, school leaders and the wider education team from the actual content of education, and challenges why all schools must be ordered to become academies, when there is insufficient evidence to show that academies raise standards overall.
The wider implications of a compulsory programme of academy conversion in the context of the White Paper raise further concern about:
- teachers’ pay and conditions of service;
- democratic accountability;
- the capacity of schools, academy chains and multi-academy trusts (MATs);
- recruitment and retention of teachers and school leaders; and
- the impact on children and pupils and students as learners.
Voice will lobby and negotiate with government and the Department for Education to:
- retain the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), national pay and conditions and pay scales and teacher pensions for all teachers; and
- secure resource levels which enable schools to respond to and address the challenge of school improvement in a way that is most appropriate.
The rapid timetable and compulsory nature of the change fails to consider the effect of change on pupils and education professionals. Education is about what and how children learn. Their education cannot be equated to a production line. Pupils are not widgets – raw goods in and quality-assured products out in the form of specified target results. To consider children in this way fails to recognise and celebrate that all pupils are different. It is dedicated education professionals who recognise the difference and enable them to succeed, not the name of, or type of, the school they attend.
Interfering with reliable, robust, effective and successful schools by introducing unnecessary change presents a high risk of damaging the education outcomes of thousands of children and the teaching profession.
General Secretary Deborah Lawson
Tel: 01332 372337