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Give us the money, not the academies

July 31, 2006 5:36 PM

Lib Dems in Cambridgeshire have spoken out against the government's plan to force Academy schools on local people.

This latest announcement follows a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers which found the Government's Academy schools having 'mixed results' with several of the schools having high rates of exclusions. The report also found that the proportion of children attending academies from less well-off backgrounds had declined.

Councillor Anne Kent from Trumpington, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson on Cambridgeshire County Council, says.

"This latest report shows that the Government's Academies are not the step forward that the Government claims. In fact in 4 of the 11 academies studied achievement had actually declined. Standards are far higher in Cambridgeshire. We may be among the lowest funded in the country but schools co-operate and standards are high. Academies are clearly not the answer but our schools could certainly make use of some of their extra resources.

"A huge amount of tax-payers money is being poured into this scheme at the expense of other local schools and significant powers to control entrance and curriculum is being granted to sponsors simply by virtue of a £2m donation. Parents up and down the country are challenging new Academy schools in their area as they fear that the school's new management will not reflect local needs and their financial arrangements can remain secret.

Councillor Anne Kent

Councillor Anne Kent

"There are currently 27 academies, most built by closing failing schools, and the government is pushing for 200 more over the next 4 years. Increasingly, they are saying ' you can only have money for a new school or refurbishment if you make it an academy'".

Academy schools have been controversial since their inception as they operate outside the local school system and are built with the support of sponsors, wealthy individuals or corporations, who in return for providing £2m run the schools once open despite the fact that the bulk of the building cost and all of the running costs come from the local taxpayer. Academies do not have to teach the national curriculum or keep to the national pay and conditions for staff.