A summary of the Schools White Paper: Academies and Free Schools


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A presentation, created by Josh Harsant, briefly exploring the key aspects of the Schools White Paper: Academies and Free Schools.

Josh is a student of Sociology and Education at Oxford Brookes University. This presentation was delivered in a first year lecture to the rest of the lecture group.

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  • Introduction: bigger picture…. To what it actually means!
  • What the policy is …. Education Policy – like an onion, many layers and complex in structure – all of which are made up of smaller, fragmented but interconnected particles.
  • Teacher ResponsesThe coalition government has introduced the Schools White paper, introducing a number of new proposals looking at Teaching and Leadership, Behaviour, Curriculum, Qualifications and Assessment, The New school system, Accountability, School improvement and School Funding. The reaction from schools and teachers has been mixed responses. Here are few examples of some of the teacher responses to the Governments Schools white paper. The New School System - greater school autonomy will lead to increased standards in schools. The government proposes more freedom and autonomy in schools, a force for underachieving schools to become academies and relegate the roles of local authorities to championing parents.NASUWT claim that there is no evidence to suggest that the structure of a building effects education. Furthermore they say that in academies the pay and conditions of teaching worsen when given the academy status.Accountability – the coalition government say that high-stake accountability is crucial to pushing educational improvement and wishes to bring an end to primary schools over-rehearsing tests and secondary schools changing curriculum to suit performance tables not the welfare of the children.The key proposals are to reform performance tables, reform Ofsted so they spend more time in the class room and publish more information on school’s individual performance and expenditure.NASUWT are concerned about these proposals as information about the schools’ performance will include teachers’ pay, absence and qualifications. Also they believe that the reform of Ofsted will put increasing pressure on classroom teachers.Teaching and Leadership - the Coalition Government says that it wants to learn from the best practice internationally.Proposals look at the qualifications needed to teach, funding, responsibility on pastoral systems and performance management.NASWUT is concerned about the Capacity of schools and teachers to manage the increased demands that the proposals will create. And that schools’ will be asked to plug the gap in supporting children and young people following the significant reduction in funding for local authority children’s services.Behaviour - the Coalition Government says that it wishes to give more support for teachers and head teachers in tackling pupil behaviour and to protect them from false allegations.The key proposals look at extending and strengthening powers of head teachers, focus on pupil behaviour, and change current system of Independent Appeal Panels, making schools responsible for excluded pupils and to grant teachers anonymity when accused by pupils.The initial comments of the NASUWT were that it welcomes a continuing focus on tackling pupil indiscipline and the commitment to anonymity for teachers, which has been a long standing campaign of the NASUWT.However, there have also been some worrying concerts about the proposals. The new approach to exclusions will in effect mean that a pupil permanently excluded will remain the responsibility of the school. This will increase pressure on the school not to exclude students. The opening of alternative provision to a market of new providers has the potential to increase costs, undermine the ability of schools to access local authority support and provisions and put at risk the skills and expertise of teachers and other staff who work in pupil referral units. The same-day detention system could potentially bring schools and teachers into serious conflicts with parents and the law. Although the proposals are set out to help schools in all areas many seem to cause more concerns than actually making the Education better. References:NASUWT (2008) NASUWT summary of the Schools White Paper: The Importance of Teaching Available at http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/Whatsnew/NASUWTNews/Nationalnewsitems/VoteForEducation/EducationWhitePaper/index.htm [Accessed 25th March 2012]  Hi Just so it makes sense to you:The numbers are a brief summary of what it isThis symbol is what the proposals areAnd this symbol is what the teachers have to say about it.I hope it makes sense!! If not my number is 07842949465 and I can try and explain it to you We took our info from the website you recommended on FB and took a few points from it, we thought it will become too long if we wrote about all of them.Thanks again for all the help you have given us!Patti and Hattyxx
  • Beadle, P. (2010). The Academies Policy is Bad News for Teachers. The Guardian, 15th June. [ONLINE]  Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/jun/15/academies-policy-attack-on-teachers-salaries?INTCMP=SRCH Accessed on : 19th March 2012.·         The entirety of academy policies is now motivated by money.·         The coalition’s announcements of the academy policies are a huge plan to get the money away from the teachers and back into the Governments pockets.·         Governments have announced that any school, even those classified as ‘outstanding’ can be turned into academies, how is this logical if the aim of academies was to help failing schools recover?·         A huge implication of academies is that by changing schools into them, they are funded partly by the state but are controlled by voluntary sponsers, this makes it impossible for unions to be able to negotiate and maintain a national pay agreement for teachers.·         We are told academies ‘drive success’ but there is little evidence of this and the evidence there is far from being infallible.#Gorard, S 2009, 'What are Academies the answer to?', Journal Of Education Policy, 24, 1, pp. 101-113, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 March 2012This article looked at the performance of schools which have been turned into academies & analyses the performance of the academy cohorts to their predecessors.“Academies were meant to replace schools in areas of high socio-economic disadvantage, with falling intakes and poor results, and which are increasingly spurned by local parents able to find an alternative school for their child.”Although reports argued that the academies that were opened were boosting figures of success and improvement, Gorard would argue otherwise.Of the 24 or so Academies discussed in Goard’s article, only around five appear to be gaining appreciably higher results for their students than in previous yearThere is no clear evidence here that Academies work to produce better results than the kinds of schools they replaced but neither is the evidence as clear as in 2005 that they are completely failing to do so.·         Surely we need to ask ourselves that if schools are ‘outstanding’ why they need to be ‘improved’.·         Have Governments thought that perhaps these ‘outstanding’ schools have been given that label because the teachers want to work hard and a driven to work hard knowing that their head teacher isn’t going to put them through a change to academy?·         To the political right wing, teachers are often describe teachers as being middle class, over paid and doing a  job that quite often could be done by technology e.g. ICT.  This view often leads to the conclusion that teachers should be the ones who are ‘broken upon the rack of initiative [for being] an expensive irritation.·         This policy shows a key ideological change in reference to academies; Labours policy aimed to replace ‘failing schools’ and to increase educational equality.  However, this is clearly not the key objective if all schools can be changed to academies.·         There are panics over how many teachers will sacrifice the additional funding offered at the moment to convert to an academy in order to keep a partially state controlled school.·         Will they all give in resulting in the workforce becoming more poor while the controlling figures get constant pay raises and bonuses?
  • Our verdict/response to the policy
  • Raising Standards?The government’s claim that academies are raising standards and that their results are improving faster than in other schools is not proven because the data is kept secret. Furthermore, such data that it has been possible to acquire indicates that the government’s claim is wide open to critical challenge.Selective AdmissionsCovert and overt admissions and exclusion practices enable academies to skew their intakes in favour of those from higher-achieving backgrounds.Local authorities can ‘direct’ maintained schools to accept special needs and looked-after children but can only ‘ask’ academies.Increased ExclusionsThere is increasing evidence of academies excluding more children than maintained schools.Evading Education LawAcademies are not covered by general education law which means that their students and parents have fewer rights than those of schools in the maintained sector.  Academies should be brought under the umbrella of general education law and the recently published education and skills bill should be the vehicle used to achieve this.No DemocracyRushed, flawed and manipulated consultation processes show a complete disregard of the views of local people. There is no democratic ballot for parents and teachers within the consultation process.Governance ArrangementsThe sponsor has the power to appoint the majority of governors.Academies are only required to appoint one parent and one staff governor and they are rarely representative of the communities they are supposed to serve.Staff Terms and ConditionsAcademies have high staff turnover rates, and staff in academies can be prey to discriminatory employment practices. Teachers and support staff working in academies deserve the same protection as those working in the maintained sector.The Power of the SponsorThe sponsor gains almost absolute power once a school acquires academy status. They take control of public assets – the buildings and the land.Social SegregationOECD research suggests that where schools systems have a greater diversity of types of school, there is a greater tendency towards more social segregation.An Unproven ExperimentThe academy programme remains hotly contested. Lord Hattersley has warned that academies will create a ‘hierarchy’ of schools.
  • A summary of the Schools White Paper: Academies and Free Schools

    1. 1. The Schools White PaperFocussing on….Academies andFree Schools
    2. 2. Early Years WOLF review of Frank Field MP review Foundation Stage 14-19 curriculum Greater choice of Child Poverty and James review of Life Chances capital expenditure Academies and free schools School Graham Allen funding New funding MP review of Early Greater test Phonics Incentivising standards early Teachers Intervention vehicles personalisation intervention Commercialisation and sexualisation of Youth service childhood provision and careers serviceEileen Munro’s review review of New national Safeguarding Curriculum Adoption Family Justice Review SEN and Disabilities Green Paper PSHE review Reviewchildren’s trust Vetting and and DCS role Barring scheme Make inspection more targeted
    3. 3. The Trumpet Analogy to Education PolicyPROBLEM PLANNING TINKERING OUTCOME
    4. 4. Radical reform programme for the schools system......it outlines how we will raise the prestige of the teaching profession, and how we will transform the quality of initial training and continuing professional development....The White Paper also sets out: powers for teachers a vision for a transformed school curriculum [and] rigorous assessment more academies and free schools changes to school performance tables and Ofsted inspection a fairer funding system school-led school improvement What the policy says
    5. 5. • Teaching and leadership• Behaviour• Curriculum, assessment and qualifications• The new school system• Accountability• School improvement• School funding What the policy says
    6. 6. • Academies are publicly-funded independent schools that provide a first-class educationKey differences from state schools:• Freedom• Sponsors• Funding• Governance Academies - the differences
    7. 7.  Renovation of Labour’s academies programme: a flagship Coalition policy (well, Gove’s!)  Intention that all schools will become academies Forms a part of a larger school reform Attempt to improve schooling, whilst “improving efficiency” (lowering costs...!) Two “waves” – converter academies University technical colleges – academy? Academies - Context
    8. 8.  Same principle of academies but.......  No statutory need for a curriculum No statutory need for qualified teachers No statutory requirement to have an appropriate building Claims to increase parental choice in school provision Faith groups, businesses and charities can set up free schools Free Schools
    9. 9. You can please some of the people some of the time…But you can’t pleaseall of the people all ofthe time.
    10. 10. •No evidence to suggest that thestructure of a building effects education. • Welcomes a continuing focus on tackling pupil indiscipline• In academies the pay and conditions ofteaching worsen when given the • Increase pressure on the school not toacademy status. exclude students• Schools’ performance will include • New providers could increase coststeachers’ pay, absence and qualifications and undermine the ability of schools to access support• Put increasing pressure on classroomteachers • Same-day detention system could potentially bring schools and teachers• Capacity of schools and teachers to into serious conflictsmanage the increased demands• Supporting children and young peoplemore with less – due to cuts to authoritychildren’s services. Policy critique
    11. 11. • Motivated by money (From teachers to Government) • Political ideological change• Makes life difficult for unionsand teachers’ rights • Sacrificing funding?• No proven evidence of “drivingsuccess” or improving standards • Creating a bad workforce?• Why do “outstanding” schoolsneed to be “improved”? Policy critique
    12. 12. Following the historical sheep………….? CAMERON GOVE
    13. 13.  Raising Standards?  Governance Arrangements Selective Admissions  Staff Terms and Conditions  The Power of the Sponsor Increased Exclusions  An Unproven Experiment “Evading Education Law”  Careers Guidance/Support No Democracy Good principle.... Poor practice.... Our verdict/response to the policy
    14. 14. The Schools White PaperFocussing on….Academies andFree Schools