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Lib Dems condemn plans to turn all schools into academies

March 28, 2016 3:36 PM

Liberal Democrats in Hinckley and Bosworth have condemned plans, announced in the recent Budget by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to force all schools currently under Local Education Authority (LEA) control to become Academies.

In his speech in the Commons George Osborne announced that all schools must become academies by 2020.

Michael Mullaney, Lib Dem County Councillor and the party's Parliamentary Spokesperson for Bosworth, says "I strongly disagree with the Conservative Chancellors' plans to force all schools to become academies."

"Academy status for all schools means less local oversight and less local accountability as local councils will have almost no say over schools. The case hasn't yet been made that academies deliver higher educational standards than other schools. The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has recently criticised the performance of several multi-academy trust chains where "serious weaknesses" were identified."

"Education in this country benefits from having choice for parents and teachers. For the government to declare that all schools must be academies is wrong and I hope the government will drop these proposals."

Mathew Hulbert, former Councillor for Barwell and the Children and Young People's Champion at Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council from 2011 to 2015, says "Considering the Tories are always talking about being pro choice, they've left pupils, parents and the teaching profession with no choice at all here.

"They're letting ideology and dogma cloud their judgement and I urge them to listen to the tens of thousands of people across the country who've already signed a petition calling on them to urgently think again.

"Academies have their place, but it's not for the Chancellor or the Secretary of State to order schools to make such a change against the will of many."

Mr Hulbert, who is also an executive member of the Lib Dem Education Association, continues "I share the concern of many young people, parents and educationalists in regards to the loss of local democratic accountability when schools become academies.

"LEAs aren't perfect but, at least, when something goes wrong with them there's a Cabinet member at County Hall who can be held to account at the ballot box."

"The Tories want to end the century-old role of Councils in running education and I believe it is a very serious mistake."