Friday, 25 April 2008

Dunn Deal and City Academies

Aren't Academies for inner-city areas? Why do you think the Academy will make such a difference in the Rother Valley?

Initially this was the case as the national Academy programme focused on schools with the greatest problems of low educational standards and performance. That was what government ministers agreed to, and what many still think. The “city” was quietly dropped from “academies” because some academies left the urban jungle and moved into leafier areas out of city centre. Unsurprisingly, their “clientele” changed. Then struggling independent schools realised that getting 20+ million quid from central government was a lot easier than raising bursaries and chasing a dwindling pool of parents scraping together tuition fees. Academies are still supposed to be for areas of deprivation, seriously underperforming schools or where extra places are needed.
The government is now recognising that smaller rural secondary schools can also struggle to sustain standards and that they too should benefit from major investment – one that will ultimately benefit the whole community. This is one of the most disingenuous, misleading statements so far. OF COURSE government knows that small rural secondary schools should benefit from investment. INVESTMENT DOES NOT EQUAL ACADEMIES!!!

I am confident that if it proceeds, this ambitious project would make a huge difference for the communities of the Rother Valley. The establishment of a new, energetically-run Academy should be positive news for parents across our county and beyond. Huge difference? Yes. Positive? Maybe for some; definitely not for others.
“Our county and beyond” is a worrying addition: this suggests the test-case scenario again.

Likewise, the Academy would act as a beacon for other local schools, sharing its resources and working closely with local primary schools to ensure the transition from primary to secondary education works well for all future pupils.
Again, we need an academy to be a beacon? There is a monumentally greater proportion of maintained schools which are beacons, compared to academies (are there even any? Please name one if you can). I know first hand that Rother Valley schools DO share resources and DO work together to ensure school transition. ULT promise access of 9000 lesson plans for teachers: why are these not available to schools like those in the Rother Valley if they are so passionate about education and the best for Rother Valley children? This is the sort of collaboration and sharing which currently is made available in the state system. I myself have provided resources for West Sussex teachers through the county. There are lots of these about, made by teachers who want to share. Freely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The West Sussex Coastal strip is in Wave D of the Building Schools for the Future programme. Midhurst is in the next (E) and last wave.