Socialist Worker

Crucial vote on Sheffield academy

by Ben Morris, Sheffield NUT executive (pc)
Issue No. 2118

Parents and teachers in Sheffield demanding high quality state education are preparing for a massive no campaign in a ground-breaking ballot on whether a local school is turned into an academy.

Sheffield council wants to hand the Parkwood school in Shirecliffe to the unelected collection of rich people that run the Edutrust company.

Councillors have agreed to put the issue to a vote of local parents in poll that opens next week. This is the first time an academy decision has been put out to ballot in this way.

Parkwood is in one of the poorest parts of the city, yet last year an Ofsted inspection found the school to be “good” with “outstanding” elements.

It is a community school built with public money and run for the public interest by people who are elected.

If it became an academy it would be privately owned and would be run by people who we have no control over. It is a way of pushing privatisation in our education system.

Governors at nearby Fir Vale school unanimously rejected a plan to turn their school into an academy recently.

Fir Vale already had a new building so the sole argument was about whether academies benefit students.

Local councillors have told Parkwood that it will only get a new building if it becomes an academy.

They have also told anti-academies campaigners that they cannot disseminate information at the roadshows the council has organised, nor have a speaker at public meetings.

But despite this, campaigners have resolved to work hard to take the message – that way to improve our schools is to plough in more resources, not to hive them off to privateers – to as many parents as possible.

The Parkwood Anti-Academies Campaign is holding a day of action on Sunday 14 September and will leaflet the catchment area of the school.

Meet at 3pm at the Tesco car park, Herries Road, Longley, Sheffield. The ballot closes on 22 October

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Article information

Tue 9 Sep 2008, 18:55 BST
Issue No. 2118
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