‘It’s a dictatorship.’ Angry parents fight back against school takeovers

Jan 26, 2019 by

Some communities are battling hard to stop forced takeover of their schools – including one by Tory donor and ex-minister Lord Nash

It’s like living in a dictatorship,” fumes Peter Hawkins, reflecting on the situation facing the school that he and generations of his family have attended. “There’s no way of knowing what’s going on, or of communicating with the people making the decision. We have no say in the future of our children’s school. It’s disgusting.”

On Friday the school in question, the Barclay school, Stevenage, is set to join Future Academies, the chain founded and chaired by the Tory peer, party donor and former academies minister, Lord Nash.

Hawkins has two children at the Barclay, the first comprehensive set up when the Hertfordshire new town was established after the war, and which would be celebrating its 70th birthday this year. Like hundreds of schools since 2010 it is being forcibly converted into an academy after a poor Ofsted report in 2016.

The policy has been in place on a large scale since the days of Michael Gove. Nine months ago, Damian Hinds, the education secretary, told headteachers he wanted to take away the idea of forced academisation “being seen as this punitive threat”. Yet the battles continue, and observers say there is increasing anger as more parents discover they are shut out of important decisions about their children’s education.

Parents at the Barclay were told of the takeover in October last year, in a letter from the headteacher, Mark Allchorn. Hawkins says parents, pupils and staff have received no information on Future’s vision for the school from Nash or his trust, or from the decision-makers: the regional schools commissioner, Martin Post, and the government’s semi-elected board of academy headteachers, who advise him.

Source: ‘It’s a dictatorship.’ Angry parents fight back against school takeovers | Education | The Guardian

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