Responding to a new report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) suggesting that children's education is being damaged by academy failures and misuse of funds, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
"Converting to academy status can be a positive step, and there are many head teachers that choose to convert in the best interests of their schools and communities they serve. But as this report shows, the government’s reforms to the structure of the school system have created just as many problems as they have aimed to solve. Among other things, there’s a lack of oversight of the spending of public funds.
“Many academies are being successfully led by NAHT members. But all schools, regardless of size, type or location find themselves wrestling with the same barriers to success. Budgets are at breaking point. Recruiting and retaining staff is a constant headache. Many teachers and leaders are discouraged from working in deprived communities because of the way schools are held to account. Accountability also penalises schools which strive to be more inclusive. These are the realities of the current system and no school type is better off than another.
“Many have questioned the validity of the government’s academy programme and they will continue to do so while the government demonstrates such a poor grasp of the realities of the system it has created. This does no favours for the dedicated leaders of academies, their staff and their pupils, all of whom are working hard, trying to make the best of it in real time whilst the government slowly catches up.
“NAHT’s Improving School Accountability report evaluated different approaches for holding schools of all types to account and we hope that this PAC report will encourage government to heed its findings.”
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