Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“For the last 12 years government has been obsessed with bringing about massive structural change to the English education system. Huge amounts of time, money and energy have been poured into this ideological project, yet the results have been nothing short of disastrous for schools, pupils and staff. Academisation has increased inequality and undermined accountability and fairness in the system. It has meant that communities and staff are increasingly locked out of the system with little say on the future of their schools. And there is no evidence that it has improved school standards or led to better outcomes for children. Indeed, the evidence suggests the opposite.

“In its recent Schools White Paper, the Government admits that ‘on average, the poorest performing multi-academy trusts [MATs] do worse than the poorest performing local authorities.’ Recent NEU analysis of Ofsted outcomes shows that a greater proportion of maintained schools are rated good/outstanding by Ofsted than MATs, and a smaller proportion rated inadequate.

“The Government’s insistence on outsourcing key education and other services during the pandemic, for example in relation to ‘catch-up’, has also been a case study in failure and dogmatism.  

“Fundamental changes are needed to restore fairness and accountability to our education system and reverse the pernicious effects of academisation. This includes empowering local authorities to have oversight and control of admissions to ensure fairness and inclusion and making them the default provider of education services. It also means recognising the value and importance of educators by restoring national pay and conditions and collective bargaining for all teachers and support staff, including those in academies and free schools.

“It should also mean decoupling accountability and structural change by taking away the threat of forced academisation from schools rated inadequate by Ofsted.

“In England’s MAT system, schools have lost their legal identities and with it their voice. These should be restored with governing bodies being reinstated and given the power to choose a return to local authorities when academies have been failed by their MATs. 

“The NEU is committed to fighting academisation and will continue to encourage and support our courageous members to stand up for their rights and to oppose the privatisation of education.”

ENDS

Note to editors

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  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe. 
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 

The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.