Monday, April 30, 2007

When You're Allowed To Bend The Rules...

This article explains how Heartsease school does not fit the criteria for transformation into an academy. It is not a failing school, and there are two other schools, which better fit the criteria in the area.

However, the Christian sponsors of the school are said to have preferred the school that was doing better, which they are going to knock down. This quite clearly shows that the academy scheme is not being run for the benefit of communities or pupils, but rather to best benefit the sponsors, and to show the scheme itself to best advantage. If (according to the National Audit Office) you cannot use the scheme to get value for money in failing schools, why not try in ones that run perfectly well...

"Heartsease High does not fit the criteria set out by the government for transformation into an academy. Recent improvements in performance mean it is far from a “failing” school. In fact, the government initially earmarked the Park High at King's Lynn and Oriel High at Gorleston as perfect sites for Norfolk's first academy. But Mr Dacre and the Bishop of Norwich preferred Heartsease. Norfolk County Council was always likely to support the plan, on the basis that £2m of private money and £25m from the government was too good to turn down. There are also strong suggestions that the government has told local authorities that their ability to access millions of pounds in cash from the building schools for the future initiative, to transform high schools, is linked to how many academies they successfully promote."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Government Officer responds to NAO criticisms

Last month, the National Audit Office noted academies' terrible results in Maths and English, their failure to be responsive to local communities, and the fact that almost all were over-budget. Here, David Bell responds to those criticisms, as reported by The Guardian. He is 'glad' that, although they are not doing so at the moment, academies are 'on track to deliver value for money'.