Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, responding to reports of a Government announcement on the creation of more Academy schools, said:
“The Tory record on education is one of a teacher shortage crisis, a school places system which is broken, a widening attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers, and exams and assessments in schools in chaos. On school funding, the reality is schools face a real terms cut of 8 per-cent per pupil for the first time since the mid-1990s. These announcements today will do nothing to address that.
“There is no evidence to suggest that academisation in and of itself leads to school improvement. Only last week the Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, wrote to the Secretary of State for Education highlighting ‘serious weaknesses’ in academy chains. How the government can plough ahead with the wholesale academisation of all schools in light of his evidence beggars belief. We want to see robust accountability and oversight of all schools regardless of type.
“In some parts of the country where standards remain a concern, all schools are already academies, yet the government has no other school improvement strategy. The government only has one education policy, but the truth is delivering educational excellence in all schools goes way beyond a narrow argument on academies versus local authority schools. Failure exists in both school types, just as excellence does. It’s about time the government came forward with a comprehensive plan for school improvement for all children, in all schools up and down the country, and a serious strategy for raising standards for the next generation.”