The Education Select Committee has just published a report in which claims that academies will naturally improve educational outcomes are demonstrably unproven. In the words of the Conservative MP, Graham Stuart, who chairs the committee, ‘Current evidence does not prove that academies raise standards overall or for disadvantaged children.’ He added, ‘While some chains have clearly raised attainment, others achieve worse outcomes creating huge disparities within the academy sector and compared to other mainstream schools’
Tristram Hunt was also critical of the government’s policies. He described the report as a ‘damning verdict’.He also stated that ‘The report finds that under David Cameron there is no convincing evidence that schools policy has delivered improvements.’
The report calls for Ofsted to be able to inspect academy chains – and last week the Department for Education conceded that inspectors would be able to carry out such inspections. The MPs also called for further research ‘as a matter of urgency’ before any further steps were taken to convert more primary schools into academies. You read more about this on the BBC website. The full report can be downloaded from the Parliamentary website.
The Guardian had a piece on this. It includes comments from an interview with Tristram Hunt. He said that the government was undoing the improvement that had taken place in state schools through its obsession with imposing a market-based ideology in education.
That obsession has included taking most secondary schools out of the local authority framework and making them into independent schools and allowing private sponsors to run state schools. These policies were both started by Labour and will be continued by it if elected in May.
Also, Labour is far from rejecting marketisation. Under its policies new schools could only be set up as a result of a competitive tendering process in which local authorities wanting to set up a new school would have to compete with the various private agencies also wanting to get in on the act.
Note. The membership of the Education Committee is currently
Mr Graham Stuart MP (Conservative, Beverley and
Neil Carmichael MP (Conservative, Stroud)
Alex Cunningham MP (Labour, Stockton North)
Bill Esterson MP (Labour, Sefton Central)
Pat Glass MP (Labour, North West Durham)
Siobhain McDonagh MP (Labour, Mitcham and Morden)
Ian Mearns MP (Labour, Gateshead)
Caroline Nokes MP (Conservative, Romsey and Southampton
Mr Dominic Raab MP (Conservative, Esher and Walton)
Mr David Ward MP (Liberal Democrat, Bradford East)
Craig Whittaker MP (Conservative, Calder Valley)
Chris Skidmore MP (Conservative, Kingswood) was also a
Member of the Committee for this inquiry.
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