Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Against Academies; For Local Schools

We want everyone to know that although this campaign is fighting against the rushed imposition of an academy in the place of our three secondary schools, we are FOR the wish to have good, small schools in the hearts of the respective communities in the rural Rother Valley. We do want investment in our schools, fit for the future; but we strongly disagree that mass school closures and handing over land, premises and complete control of secondary education in our part of West Sussex is the way to do it.

The NAME campaign aims to explain how academies do not have the children's, the parents', the staffmembers' or the community's best interest at heart. In fact, the real beneficiaries are the sponsors- who receive prize assets for virtually no outlay (or none at all in some cases), and the Local Authority who are able to write off a slew of schools in which they no longer need to invest.

We don't want academies, but we do want you to engage in the debate, from whatever perspective you may be coming. Leave comments on the blog. Come to our public meeting (Thursday 28th February at Easebourne Refectory, 7pm). Make your voice heard.

We are commited to what is best for education in the Rother Valley; we at NAME wish to support all of our schools!


Anonymous said...

This whole academy thing has got my blood boiling! It was only a few years ago that there was talk of changing the current system. We believed that a decision, to leave the schools as they are, had been made back then. You can imagine how shocked we were to discover that,oh no,it's come back to bite us! It seems daft to me that in an age where everyone is trying to be more eco friendly, that they think wasting money and resources on one big school should be a good idea. I can imagine it, can't you...fewer and fewer children walking to their local school(because it has been closed!) More and more parents in cars shuttling their children further to and from school.How can that be good for the community? I could go on and on!

Trabb's Boy said...

Thanks for your comment! County will, of course tell us that the state of the art buildings will be to a higher environmental standard than the old ones. This would no doubt be true. However we know that:
1) the most eco-friendly schools are ones run by local authorities committed to promoting them as beacons of good practice, not schools run by private companies or charities
2) small school closures, as you suggest increase travel distances as well as further weakening the capacity of villages to function as anything other than dormitories
3) schools which are not sited in the middle of population centres, but at the periphery, like the Easebourbe site, do not allow for as much walking to and from school.
Unless county can provide a detailed set of calculations demonstrating that the environmental damage caused by their plans will be more than offset by the radically increased efficiency of the new build, we won't believe the greenwash. Even if they could do this (which they won't) we still believe that locally accountable, locally run schools are closer to communities' needs and thus more sustainable. An Academy in Easebourne is the worst option, no matter how you look at it!