Forced academies rejected by County Council as Tories abstain and other Councillors support Lib Dems

May 20, 2016 11:35 AM

School Crossing Patrol

The Liberal Democrats at last week's council meeting in Shire Hall condemned the Conservative Government for pushing forward with their goal of compelling academy conversions.

A motion asking for the Council Leader to write to the Secretary of State for Education and the six Gloucestershire MPs urging them to abandon completely their aspirations to convert all schools to academies and remove parent governors from governing bodies was carried successfully with twenty- eight council members voting in favour.

Former Principal of Cirencester College, Cllr. Nigel Robbins (LD: Cirencester Beeches) who proposed the motion said:

"All twenty-four Conservative members abstained, which was to be expected, but I'm delighted that all the other parties gave the support needed to get this motion approved.

"In spite of the Government's recent shift, which would have seen all state schools in England having to leave the oversight of local authorities by 2022, it is of great concern that schools will however still be pushed forward into becoming an academy.

"This is especially the case if it is seen that the local authority can no longer viably support its remaining schools because too many schools have become academies or where the local education authority consistently fails to meet a minimum performance threshold across its schools.

"I'm pleased the Leader will have to write to his party's Secretary of State for Education asking her to totally abandon such highly illiberal and undemocratic conversions."

Governor of two schools in Cheltenham, Cllr. Iain Dobie (LD: Leckhampton & Warden Hill) who spoke in support of last week's motion said:

"I really think parents and teachers know what's best for their school and should not be pressed to convert to academies if they don't want to. Despite the U-turn the government's vision for making all schools academies is still very much present.

"I am concerned that such schools would find academisation difficult not only financially, but also because it would put unreasonable demands on hard pressed head teachers and staff. There is also no guarantee that academy trusts would be interested in taking on small rural schools anyway.

"These preposterous plans should be completely abandoned."