The Tory government is trying to make all schools join Multi-Academy Trusts. (MATS). On joining a MAT a school loses its autonomy and its links with the local community. It’s no longer a separate school but becomes a branch of the MAT; just like a local branch of Tesco is not an independent shop. Elected governors representing parents and staff are stood down, and replaced with handpicked advisory boards or not replaced at all. Locally elected councillors have no say in how MATS work in their area.
MATS and the academisation programme are essential to the delivery of the Tories’ education project. They are accountable to no-one. Chief Executive officers of MATS, earning up to £450,000 a year, have been drafted in by the DFE to advise on the curriculum, assessment, catch up programmes, initial teacher training and to help OFSTED. Instead of universities, MATS are about to take over the running of teacher training which will cover little more than behaviour management and knowledge delivery. New teachers will not consider the development of the child or what kind of education learners should receive.
The Give Us Back Our Schools Campaign run by the Socialist Educational Association (SEA), believes that bringing all publicly funded educational services back under democratic oversight is key to making education work for everyone. We can’t shape the curriculum or the testing regime properly; we can’t guarantee every child is taught by a qualified teacher; we can’t ensure the needs of SEND pupils are suitably met; we can’t even guarantee every child has a place at good local school until we bring schools back into a transparent system of local democratic control.
We want to replace the current competition for pupils and funding and ensure all pupils across a community have a stimulating educational experience which recognises the achievements of all and prepares learners for life in the modern world. All schools and colleges should be accountable to the communities they serve. Parents, staff and students, with local councils should have a say in how they’re run. Join us if you agree with our aims and persuade your union branch, parents’ group or local Labour Party to adopt our aims too.
Read the Give Us Back Our Schools special edition of Education Politics which was published in June 2021. The EP is the Journal of the Socialist Educational Association.
We are publishing regular updates about this ongoing campaign under the Give Us Back Our Schools category on the SEA Blog.
Join the new Facebook Group linked to our Facebook Page we created to build an online community and discussion board around Give Us Back Our Schools. We have set-up a public version of this Group for those who do not follow our Facebook Page to improve the visibility and publicity of the campaign on social media. The general purpose of both groups is much the same although each is designed to reach different audiences.
The official campaign hashtag for social media has been confirmed as:
Should you wish to find out more, please contact the SEA General Secretary, James Whiting, with any enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org