Transforming schools into academies won’t improve them. But the education secretary appears not to have any new ideas
Schools are having a hard time. Teachers and other staff, the majority of whom are unvaccinated, continue to go to work every day in crowded buildings, surrounded by children who have also not been jabbed. While Covid rates are currently low, teenagers had the highest infection rate of any age group in December. Given the possibility that such a scenario could repeat itself, teachers deserve praise for their commitment.
Instead, the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has decided to undermine them. His announcement that he wants all schools in England to become academies was presumably not calculated to demoralise schools that are currently maintained by councils. But it is hard to see how it could have any other effect, particularly given that it comes out of the blue. His party’s 2019 manifesto promised to ensure “every school is a great school”. It said nothing about forcing existing schools out of local control and into that of multi-academy trusts.
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