Monday, May 27, 2024

Thurrock Tories give full support to forced academies and binning parent governors plan

THE THURROCK Conservatives have backed plans to force all Thurrock schools to become academies as well as binning parent governors.

Under education minister, Nicky Morgan’s plans, schools such as Grays Convent and Treetops would be forced too change their status.

Shadow portfolio holder for Education. cllr James Halden said: "In principle, there is simply no issue. Strong heads will still be able to lead their schools in their own ways, but will now have the flexibility to enter into new arrangements such as multi academy trusts.

Look at how beneficial Corringham Primary has found it having Gable Hall as a support network.

The important thing is that councils invest time with schools and governors to make sure local arrangements are relevant.

Thurrock has few formal powers with schools like Gateway due to them being an academy, but I have certainly have spent enough time there to understand the issues in play regardless of their status.

"I feel this is very much about Councils such as County and City Councils trying to avoid losing duties such as school improvement in order to avoid becoming unviable as a authority".

The proposals have not been met with unanimous enthusiasm by Tory councillors across the country. Even the Conservative councillor in charge of education in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Oxfordshire constituency has criticised the plans.

Melinda Tilley spoke to BBC Radio 4 and denounced the "diktats from above" and said the policy could put small village schools at risk.

Orsett councillor, Sue Little said: "All schools need to be free from the shackles of local authorities and we have seen in Thurrock where this has happened the schools tend to do better.

"Indeed a vast majority of our well performing schools were failing under council control and are now doing much better as an academy or part of an academy group. It is down to each Academy group to set their own governance structure and many still have a governor group.

"I support the Government on this issue, improving our schools means improving the life chances of the children of Thurrock, something I am sure every parent wants for their child. It is reported a good 70% of schools already in academy groups are doing far better than they were.

"As an ‘old convent’ girl who started there as a non Catholic therefore my parents paid a fee for me going there to becoming an non fee paying school and all the changes it has gone through over the years form at one point only having sisters teaching there and the foray when other teachers were employed to teach and even more when men taught there I am sure all will be well".


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