Mark Whitehead 29 April 2016

Tory education chief sees ‘no democracy’ in forced academisation

Devon’s Tory education chief has added his voice to protests over government plans to force all schools to become academies.

Cllr James McInnes, Devon County Council’s cabinet member for schools, said he believed the proposals were wrong and undemocratic.

It follows a warning earlier this week by the County Councils Network that the academisation policy was being pursued ‘with undue haste’ and would pose a risk to schools.

The proposals, unveiled by chancellor George Osborne in his last budget, would mean all state schools being turned into academies by 2022.

Cllr McInnes told a local newspaper: ‘As a Conservative I struggle with this. I am not against schools taking ownership and control, schools are independent places now.

‘But I believe it is wrong to try to force heads and governors into following a path they would not otherwise choose – especially when there is no evidence to suggest that this approach will improve performance.

’86% of our children in Devon are already being taught in schools judged good or outstanding by Ofsted compared to 80% nationally.

‘And while people can remove me at the ballot box if they are not happy, the role of overseeing the performance of academies is being passed to unelected and faceless bureaucrats in London and Bristol.

‘I can see no democracy in that.’

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