Commenting on Trust issues, a new report by the EDSK think-tank calling on a new approach to England’s school system, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“There is now huge dissatisfaction with the academies programme and a realisation that its inherent structural problems are not possible to resolve. The call to reinstate local democratic accountability of schools is being made across the political spectrum.

“This is a clear attempt to breathe life into a dying programme before this happens. What it would amount to in practice is the total academisation of the school system by central government diktat. It would also involve an expansion of the unelected and unaccountable Regional Schools Commissioner bureaucracy. It would actually reduce democratic accountability and make it harder for parents and staff to understand and navigate the system.

“Academies have resulted in a fractured and confusing schools landscape. They have driven down wages and terms and conditions for staff, reduced accountability for parents, staff, pupils and local authorities and caused a huge amount of money to be wasted on the administrative costs of conversion and managing a chaotic system. We agree that it is better to have one system for state schools in England rather than two, but in light of this we cannot understand the logic that leads the report’s authors to conclude this means plumping for an academised system.

“The reality is that it would be far preferable, easier and better for everyone to reinvigorate local democratic structures, than to build upon the failure that is the academies programme.”