I WAS extremely disappointed to learn from the Newsletter that the Grove Primary School and Nursery Unit is to become an academy.
The manner in which this unpopular policy has, in effect, been imposed on the school, against the wishes of both staff and parents, is nothing short of scandalous and surely makes a mockery of Michael Gove’s glib assertions about the academies programme promoting local choice for local communities. It clearly does no such thing.
And just as claims to increased choice and accountability have been revealed as vacuous rhetoric, so also the inflated claims for increased student performance have been less convincing when academy results are measured in collective deed rather than by any individual word.
Indeed, it was the prevalence of such anomalies that convinced the majority of secondary schools in Stafford to reject the path of academisation and remain committed to the values of comprehensive education.
So, it is surprising that the council seems determined to pursue a model of education that is flawed, divisive and so completely lacking in support from community stakeholders. And not content with the Grove, it appears as though John Wheeldon Primary School may now be next in line for similar treatment.
To avoid turning farce into tragedy, the council must back away from legitimising the target-driven culture of an increasingly politicised Ofsted, step down from cheerleading Gove’s ideological crusade and listen to those they profess to serve. Otherwise, the people of Stafford will be left with a fractured, unaccountable service that owes more to the ethics of individual profiteering than the values of equality and humanity embedded in the structures of our collective provision.
And having seen the doctrine of privatisation continue to undermine our NHS, it is imperative that we now keep our schools free from the mandarins of market competition.