Following Michael Gove's speech in London regarding academy conversions, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said: “Children can succeed whatever their background, nationality or family wealth and every good teacher is dedicated to this belief. We recognise that some children require much more investment from their schools than others – particularly those that aren’t getting the support they need at home. This is not an excuse; it is just recognition of the need for harder work, and that schools which achieve great results in challenging circumstances are particularly special.
“There is nothing unique about academies that enable them to do this, however. Large numbers of maintained schools achieve outstanding results, and rapid improvement, and some academies don’t. It is about ambition not structure.
“NAHT recognises that if a school has been under-performing for many years, it needs something dramatic to shake things up and conversion to academy can certainly be one solution. It is not the only solution, however, and other strategies work too. Local authorities are sometimes rightfully suggesting alternative approaches or pointing out where the raw data doesn’t tell the whole story; for example, where a school has already broken the cycle and is on the brink of change, or a new leadership team has just been put into place. They are right to do so. Other local authorities are also taking the time to find the right sponsor that suits the community - time invested in doing that prevents conflict and turbulence later on and so is time well spent. It is not as simplistic as being simply pro- or anti-academy. It is about making decisions on more than just raw data and having a wider tool-box of solutions.”
The full text of Michael Gove's speech is available on the Department for Education's website, here.
Page Published: 04/01/2012