10 Jun '14

News If only the Trojan horse affair was the death-knell for academy schools | Fiona Millar

The idea of schools with governing bodies effectively chosen by the sponsor and little local oversight has always been misguided Ofsted head wrong for implying Gove blocked snap inspections, says DfESet aside the many troubling details of the Birmingham "Trojan horse" story and the question on many people's lips today is where it leaves the coalition's academy and free schools policy. To what extent was the alleged Islamic infiltration of these schools a result of the academy programme? And does the chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw's suggestion that academy funding agreements and governance arrangements should be reviewed sound the death-knell for the whole idea of the "independent" state school which now goes back almost 20 years.I must declare an interest. I have been a longstanding critic of the idea of independent state schools. Not because I am against new management in failing schools, investment in deprived areas or innovative attempts to raise standards, though the academy programme's ability to do this systematically is now in some doubt. But because the idea of schools governed only by a commercial contract with the secretary of state, with freedoms other schools don't have, governing bodies effectively chosen by the sponsor and little local oversight, is a very bad one. Continue reading...

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