Thursday, 8 March 2012

Gove the Bully

We are seeing a transformation of schools, for the worse in my personal opinion, from local community schools to academies controlled by central government.  Tragically both the previous Labour government and the current Conservative government are imposing this on us, there has been little choice for the electorate as the two major parties both promote it.  Democracy is eroded in academies because in many cases parent and staff representation on governing bodies is minimal. 

I would like to see parents, staff and communities protest if they do not wish their school to become an academy and resist coercion along a path they do not want.  They should make their decision, not Gove’s decision.

There are some truly shameful cases where academy status is being forced on schools against their will.  Such an example is Coleraine Park Primary School in Haringey, London.  Their press release says it all.  The governing body says it was treated with contempt by Mr Gove, they refer to 

"the lack of consideration and respect shown to the committed group of volunteers who comprise the Governing Body, in addition to the wider school community of staff, parents and, most importantly, students".

They say that if they had not accepted the DfE imposition

"the Governing Body would have been swiftly replaced by an unelected and unaccountable Interim Executive Board. (I.E.B.)".

Clearly the DfE should want to improve education, but academies are not the answer, especially accompanied by such awful treatment of all the people involved.  Clearly the school staff will want to improve education too!  I honestly can’t see how bullying the governing body and disrespecting those concerned is going to help.

Closer to home in Stoke-on-Trent, Holden Lane High School Specialist Sports College, according to a statement from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, has had it’s governing body removed.  The Labour local authority claims it is “supporting” the school by replacing the governing body with an Interim Executive Board”.  What makes this board superior over governors elected by those they represent?  If that’s their idea of support I’d dread to think what their idea of opposition would be!

Back in Haringey, the Coleraine Park Primary School governors call the procedure a farce and conclude that Gove

"bullied them into a decision in a way that nobody wants".

Do we really think this is the way to behave in a so-called civilised country?  Would we think it acceptable for our children in these schools to behave that way to one another?  What an awful example to be setting to our young people.

I think the Haringey example is the small tip of a very big iceberg and our school system is in grave danger of being sunk by it.

Gove – Shame on you!

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