The decision by North Yorkshire County Council’s portfolio holder with responsibility for schools, Arthur Barker; to “pause” and “take stock” in respect of a decision to amalgamate Eskdale and Caedmon Schools in Whitby was the correct thing to do.
In fact I’m not surprised given the introduction of the Government White Paper “Educational Excellence Everywhere” and the decision by Brayton School governors in Selby to join a Multi Academy Trust; thus derailing proposals to amalgamate/merge with Selby High School.
In view of this decision I would urge all parents, school governors and teaching staff in North Yorkshire to do as Cllr Barker suggests, “pause and take stock”.
Rushing to acadamisation without taking the time to carefully consider the implications for education, not just in the Borough of Scarborough or the wider school community in North Yorkshire, but throughout the country, could have disastrous consequences for all of us.
Schools do not become successful simply as a result of becoming an academy; strong schools deliver educational excellence by working in partnership with other local schools, the local community and yes local councils to improve standards ensuring the needs of young people are met and exceeded.
When a school is struggling, action must be taken – but converting every school to an academy, without giving parents a say, is not the answer, especially when there is not a shred of evidence that it will help improve education standards.
It is quite wrong for the Government to put at risk some of the excellent work done by schools and the Local Authority in North Yorkshire by introducing these reckless ideological plans to force all schools to become academies.
However is not to late to resist these proposals which, we must remember, are by no means certain to happen. The Government’s declared ambition, is just that, an ambition.
The Government needs to listen to the concerns of parents, teachers, unions, local representatives from across the political divide and experts and rethink their proposals; however as Arthur Barker points out: “Guidance from the Department for Education states clearly that decision makers must have regard to the academy requirement and indeed play an enabling role in the growth of multi-academy trusts. The local authority must, as a result, ensure that these requirements are both met but also positively explored for their potential to address current concerns.”
With that in mind governing bodies need to arm themselves with the information they need to make informed choices should the need arise.
Labour Group Spokesman, Children & Young People Services, North Yorkshire County Council.
Originally from John Ritchie’s site https://labourcouncillor.wordpress.com/