Demise of the state education system

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Conference
2013 National Delegate Conference
Date
19 February 2013
Decision

Conference believes that this government is intent on dismantling state education in the same way they are dismantling our National Health Service.

The views of support staff, parents and teachers are being ignored whilst the Coalition government’s Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, arrogantly decides that he has the freedom to overturn 150 years of state education without the need to consult local communities.

Both staff and parents have grave reservations about Academy and ‘Free School’ status. Conference welcomes the successes of a number of local communities across the country in fighting against their schools being handed over to Academy sponsors who know little about how to run our schools.

Conference notes that there are now more than 2,600 Academies, with another 500 set to join them soon. State education will further be dismantled with the increase in the creation of so-called ‘Free Schools’.

Conference further notes that the Academies Commission has expressed concern that because academies are their own admission authorities they are in a position to covertly select pupils on the basis of their socioeconomic background. This skews data on the performance of Academies and could widen social segregation.

Conference believes that the quality of education has not been improved through Academy or Free School status. One clear outcome of Academy and Free School status is that it presents a threat to the terms and conditions of our members. Support staff are dedicated and committed to providing the best education for pupils and we must work to counter attacks to our members’ pay and conditions.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to pursue a twin-track strategy of:

1)opposing and campaigning against Academy and Free School status through:

a)working with communities and teacher colleagues;

b)assisting with community meetings and leaflets;

c)encouraging our members and local residents to write to local councillors and MPs;

d)organising petitions and engaging with community campaigns;

e)making the case against Academy and Free School status.

Conference supports the Academies Commission’s call for each Academy to be compelled to publish comprehensive data, including socioeconomic data, on who applies and who is admitted.

2)protecting our members who are employed in Academies and Free Schools through:

a)pursuing recognition agreements;

b)developing decent pay and conditions, including pensions;

c)organising and recruiting more members to strengthen the collective voice;

d)developing a structure in each school, and ensuring good communication flows between members and stewards in Academies, Free Schools branches and the wider union.