Opposition to academies gathers force

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Unions have stepped up their campaign against academy schools following the news that a group of leading Liberal Democrats involved in education are opposing the Academies Bill.

The National Liberal Democrat Education Association is calling for Liberal Democrat MPs and peers to vote against the Bill and sign an online petition against it.

The LDEA's members include councillors, school and college governors, teachers and lecturers, and staff in children and young people's services.

A statement on the association's website says, 'The present Bill did not form part of the published coalition agreement. The Bill is wasteful of resources at a time when public expenditure is under extreme pressure, and does not meet the coalition's aim for a fairer society.'

Public sector union Unison and teaching unions are campaigning against the Academies Bill.

A Unison and NASUWT survey carried out before the election found that most parents wanted state schools to continue to be funded by the Government and local authorities (News, 8 April).

Unison's head of education Christina McAnea said, 'Cracks are appearing in the coalition over the plans for a raft of new academy schools in September. Liberal Democrats are joining six education unions in warning about the damaging effect of new academies opening in the next school year. It is time for Nick Clegg to listen to parents, and to his own party, and use his influence to put the brakes on the Academies Bill.

'Academy schools threaten the budgets of local mainstream schools. They will hit the life and learning chances of SEN, vulnerable and disadvantaged children. They also have huge implications for staff working at schools. Pushing ahead with these plans without giving local people, parents and staff the chance to express their views is a disgrace.'

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