Teachers to protest in Westminster against Government forced academies plan

“This is the most profound change to education in our lifetimes, and it’s all very wrong"

Jenny Marc
Wednesday 23 March 2016 13:58 GMT
Teachers to protest at Westminster against forced academies

Teachers will march in Westminster this evening to protest against the Government’s announcement to convert all schools into academies by 2020.

The demonstration, which is being organised by the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, will be staged outside the Department of Education.

“It’s about working with parents and working with teachers to make the schools as best they can, as opposed to taking another few steps further towards a completely privatised education system,” explained Andrew Baisley, a secondary school maths teacher and secretary for Camden NUT.

“I’m absolutely convinced that’s the direction we’re going in.”

Mr Baisley, who teaches in Camden’s Haverstock School, is helping to coordinate the protest, which will begin at the Westminster Cathedral at 5pm.

The march was swiftly organised in response to Chancellor George Osbourne’s Budget announcement that all state schools in England would be converted into academies by 2020.

Currently, 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools in England are academies, along with 2,440 of 16,766 primary schools.

Mr Baisley, who has been teaching for over 20 years, has several concerns about the decision both from a parental and professional perspective.

“This is the most profound change to education in our lifetimes, and it’s all very wrong. It’s cutting parents out, it’s removing professional qualifications and it’s creating a totally different type of school.”

“I’m very worried, and I think everyone should be very worried.”

However, officials insist that parents and educators should have confidence in the plan.

“Pupils are already benefitting hugely from the academies programme and thanks to our reforms more of them than ever before are going to good or outstanding schools, meaning more parents can access a good school place for their children,” a Department for Education spokesperson said.

“Every parent deserves to know their child is getting an excellent education, and it is disappointing that the NUT and ATL are taking this approach.”

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