YEP Says: Will the journey to academisation pass the test?

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INNOVATION is essential if our schools are to continue rising up national league tables – complacency is not an option after too many LEAs in this region presided over the stagnation of academic attainment.

Education must not be left to chance. The future prospects of all young people are at stake and the conversion of a quarter of Leeds schools –and almost half of all Yorkshire schools – to academies, independent of town hall control, is indicative of the Government’s approach since 2010.

Yet, while Ministers want all schools to become independent and funded directly by Whitehall, therefore rendering longstanding LEAs redundant, it is important that political ideology does not stand in the way of policy practicalities when the North-South skills gap remains so accentuated. This is self-evident with the ongoing funding row. Without local councils highlighting spending disparities and discrepancies, some schools might be at an even greater financial disadvantage. And while there are academies which are beginning to raise standards at under-performing schools, it’s still too early to assess whether these reforms will achieve the intended results.

This makes the role of Regional Schools Commissioners even more important. Not only is it their duty to uphold standards across the board, but they must ensure that every child receives a fair chance.

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. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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