We the undersigned say NO to any more Academy conversions in York.
This petition had 294 supporters
We want Government to help our Local Education Authority to support all of our local family of schools to flourish for the benefit of every child in York.
This is why it is important:
Flawed conversion process
The process of conversion to Academy is flawed and leads to divisions between schools and the local communities they serve. Consultation with key stakeholders (parents, young people, teachers, prospective parents, the local community) does not have to take place until after the governors have applied for conversion and had an Academy Order granted (as evidenced by the recent proposal for Scarcroft, Knavesmire and Millthorpe to convert to a Multi-Academy Trust) meaning that people are excluded from the decision making which has a direct impact on their children, jobs or community.
Consultation does not legally have to include a ballot of parents and teachers, despite other bodies (e.g. National Governor's Association, National Union of Teachers) recommending this.
No improvement in quality of education
There is no evidence to show that academy conversion itself results in increased educational attainment (Education Committee, Jan 2015). Schools in York perform well. "Children's services at City of York Council continue to perform excellently" (Ofsted assessment 2011). 75% of nursery and primary schools are rated good or outstanding. 88% of secondaries are good or outstanding (Local Authority performance review, 2011).
Academies undermine support for our teaching staff
Academies can employ unqualified teachers and set their own pay, condition and working hours for newly appointed teachers. This could lead to a ‘two tier’ workforce.
Fair admissions processes cannot be guaranteed
Academies act as their own admissions authority. There is a wide diversity of practice regarding admission to academies. The complexity of these arrangements means there is a lack of transparency and certainty for parents.
Reduced accountability and access to regulators
At present issues of policy or practice regarding a York Local Education Authority school can be raised with a Local Councillor or officer of the Local Authority. That option is removed for parents whose children attend Academies, who instead need to make an appeal to the Secretary of State for Education in London.
Academy conversion increases the financial responsibilities and risks of individual schools or Trusts, who still have to fund the services previously provided by the local authority (e.g. Staff pay, special needs support, building maintenance, IT etc) but have to plan and negotiate alone.
Fair support for all children across York
Creating Academy Trusts reduces the income to York Local Education Authority which will affect its ability to plan for and fund support that pupils across York need (e.g. special educational needs support).
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