Keep Reading’s schools for Reading’s communities, says LabourThe drive by Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove to make schools become ‘academies’, run by a myriad of private organisations and responsible only to him as Secretary of State, has come under fierce attack from Reading Labour Party, with education lead Cllr. John Ennis saying the Government’s aim is to privatise education and destroy the accountability of schools to their local communities.
“Mr Gove started,” he says, “by saying that all schools judged ‘outstanding’ ought to become academies, but his officials are now coming to me and demanding that schools that are not reaching their targets become academies! What Mr Gove really seems to want by the end of this Parliament is to take over all the country’s 22,000 schools, creating the most centralised education system ever in this country or any other.
“Reading’s Labour Council,” Cllr. Ennis goes on, “is proud of the work we have done in partnership with heads, teachers, Governors, parents, pupils and the wider community to drive up education standards in Reading – our schools are getting their best results ever – and of the huge investment that Labour made in school buildings and equipment. Of course we know there are some schools where progress has not been as fast as it should. We are committed to working with those schools to get it right. We believe we can do that better, working locally with heads, teachers and parents than a set of remote civil servants up in Whitehall, and much better than the various private companies springing up to grab a piece of the action. For all Mr Gove’s spin, there is no evidence that academies as a whole perform better than schools that remain with the local authority.
“At the next meeting of the Council,” Cllr. Ennis goes on, “I will be moving a resolution opposing Mr Gove’s grab on our schools, and as and when he targets individual schools my colleagues and I will meet with Governors and parents in the hope of agreeing a common response. Like with the NHS, this drive of Mr Gove’s is something that wasn’t in the Tory election manifesto, but that didn’t stop him pushing the legislation through Parliament on an emergency basis, with LibDem support, within weeks of taking office.”
We believe in Reading schools for Reading’s communities – that’s true localism – and will be campaigning on that basis.