Monday, March 28, 2016

The impossibility of holding academies to account

David Higgerson writes on his blog about the Liverpool Echo's attempts to investigate the actions of a local academy that has announced it will no longer offer A levels:
The school, Halewood Academy, appears to consider itself above scrutiny and refused to talk to the Echo, instead referring to a statement online. The local council, Knowsley, shrugged its shoulders as well it might – it has no say on what goes on at Halewood, despite the fact its borough will have no A-level provision. 
Tom was pointed towards regional schools commissioners who are apparently responsible for making decisions about academies in their areas. There is next to no information on this role, and what there is is tucked away on the utterly useless website. The fact there are precisely zero FOI releases from the regional schools commissioners tells you how accountable they are. There’s no information on the decisions they make either. 
North West commissioner Vicky Beer seemed surprised to be asked what her role was by Tom, and referred him to central government, as it was their decision. Which doesn’t sound very devolved, does it? 
The final irony – if irony is the right word – is contained in a screen grab in Tom’s report – a petition against the A-level closure plans filed on the government’s petition website was rejected because "the government and parliament aren’t responsible."
Higgerson says this glimpse into the future of education will horrify any journalists, but it should horrify every parent and citizen too.

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