Politicians fight schools changes

Councillor Megan Swift.
Councillor Megan Swift.

Calderdale Labour councillors are joining forces with Halifax MP Holly Lynch to launch a campaign against the Government’s plans to force every school to become an Academy.

Under the proposals every school will have to become an academy by 2022.

Now Labour’s education spokesperson Coun Megan Swift has tabled a motion for the next full council meeting condemning the plans – and together with Halifax’s Labour MP is launching a petition inviting local people to oppose them.

Coun Megan Swift said: “Presently, about three quarters of the schools in Calderdale are community schools or church schools. A great many of them have made a conscious decision that they do not want to pursue academy status.

“The Government now says that every school will be forced to become an academy by 2022. And they have made it clear that parents, teachers and the local community will have no right to a say. They are even planning to remove the requirement for academy schools to have parent representatives on their governing bodies.

“There’s no evidence that this will do anything to benefit our children – it’s purely about dogma.”

Holly Lynch MP added: “Teachers tell me that our schools are already under financial pressures – and they are struggling to cope with continued top-down changes to testing and the curriculum. The last thing the Government should be doing is spending millions of pounds on an unnecessary and unwanted reorganisation which will do nothing to raise standards.

“Labour believe that the focus needs to be firmly on the things that make a difference – good teachers, good leadership, and a system that works together to give schools good support. That’s where the resources need to go – not on top-down changes that will make schools accountable only to the Secretary of State and Whitehall civil servants.”