Council leader disappointed by decision on academies

The leader of Peterborough City Council has criticised government plans to convert all schools into academies.

Monday, 21st March 2016, 11:30 am
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Councillor John Holdich, who is the cabinet member responsible for the city’s schools, does not believe exam results will improve as a result of the council no longer providing education.

He sited Voyager Academy, which has recently come out of special measures, as an example of why it is better for local authorities to be able to intervene when schools are struggling.

Cllr Holdich said: “From a personal point of view I think it’s wrong. From what I’ve seen of the government’s control of the academies here I think they are better off under local authority control.

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“I do not see them achieving anything better than we can achieve.

“But it probably does not stop local authorities setting up a trust to run schools.

“I believe Peterborough does a pretty good job with the schools left in its control. Exam results do not appear to be brilliant on the surface, but look at the turnover and the challenges that it brings and migrants underachieving by 12 per cent.

“Every time a child moves school they lose a term’s education.

“Governors run schools and they will still run schools when they are academies.”

Under government proposals announced in the Budget yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne said schools must become academies by 2020 or have official plans to do so by 2022.

Last August, Cllr Holdich called for changes to be made at Voyager after just 19 per cent of pupils at the Walton school achieved five A*-C grades including English and maths.

At the time, the council leader said the local authority had called in regulators Ofsted to go into the school, but there was little action that could take as cabinet member.

He added: “All I can do as a spokesman on education is to write to the governing body and make them aware that the council is not happy with their performance.

“If they do not respond we can ask Ofsted to come in and inspect.”