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Families and communities standing up for state education

Rescue our Schools has been started by parents in response to the government’s recent announcements on forced academisation in England and its proposals on school funding. We have had years of political meddling in schools, and now enough is enough. We are gravely concerned at the direction in which state education is heading and we believe that parents’ voices should be heard. We invite anyone who cares about education to support our campaign. We want to give teachers hope and our children a secure future in these uncertain times.

OUR KEY AREAS OF CONCERN ARE ENFORCED ACADEMISATION, THREATS TO THE QUALITY OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL FUNDING CUTS

1) Enforced Academisation- Ripping Schools from their Communities

* There is no evidence that academisation leads to school improvement

* Forced academisation was not in the Conservative party manifesto – so pushing it through Parliament is undemocratic

* Public land will be given to privately run chains and trusts for 125 years – no other country in the world has given its schools away like this

* Schools will be run by remote academy chain chief executives and central government – any claim that schools will be empowered is just not true

* Parent governors will lose their role as elected representatives of the school community – a move that will weaken local accountability and is at odds with David Cameron’s vision of “the Big Society”

* Schools need stability – many local authorities are doing an excellent job, so why sever this link with local government and the communities they serve?

* Academies can decide on staff pay and conditions with worrying implications for teachers’ working conditions

* It’s estimated forced academisation will cost tens of millions of pounds at a time when public services are being cut

2) The Quality of Teaching and Learning in School is Under Threat

* Academies can take on unqualified teachers – so if all schools become academies we fear it will undermine the quality of education across the board

* The government is proposing that schools decide when a teacher is qualified – it’s unclear how this will improve education

* Having fewer qualified teachers could see schools increasingly relying on mass-produced lesson material – which makes money for providers but risks providing a “one size fits all” education

*It’s not clear if students with special educational needs will be assured a place in their local school once it is an academy – a results driven system can see these students excluded

* It’s proposed that OFSTED no longer judges the quality of teaching in schools – what’s to stop schools then ‘teaching to the test’, turning schools into exam factories with a narrow curriculum instead of offering a stimulating education which prepares students for life?

* There are too many poorly conceived tests which restrict the curriculum and set children up for failure – with huge implications for children’s mental health

* The upcoming Year 6 SATS will judge children as either at the expected standard or not – in other words pass or fail. The grammar element is widely seen as too difficult. Proposed tests for 4 year olds have been contested by both teachers and experts as harmful.

* We fear the government’s proposals will prompt even more teachers to leave the profession

* The whole thrust of the government’s education vision is at odds with what employers say they want – creative individuals who can problem solve in an increasingly complex world

3) School Funding is at risk from plans announced in the Budget

* The government, under its “fair funding formula”, wants to take money from inner city schools and give it to schools in rural areas where pupils have traditionally got less money – these schools definitely need more money, but it should be NEW money

* We should keep the current funding levels in inner city schools, because they have to deal with challenging social conditions which need extra resources

* Schools that lose money under the changes face sacking teaching assistants, giving less extra support to children who need it and reducing school trips and enrichment/extra curricular activities

* It will be harder for students from some backgrounds to get to university – reversing the huge success in this area over the last few years

Visit the Rescue Our Schools website at www.rescueourschools.co.uk

We want to start a Rescue Our Schools campaign in Birmingham. If you are interested please email Birmingham Campaign for State Education at brumcase@gmail.com.

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