School managements in privatised academies can teach children for as many or as few days as they like.
This shocking revelation came in an email from the Department for Education. The email was in response to Leila Galloway, a parent of a child at Tidemill academy in Deptford, south London.
Leila had enquired about teaching obligations on academies after Tidemill announced it would not teach children for nine days in the run-up to Christmas.
Instead, parents were told they could “choose” to pay £20 a day to place their children in the care of private firm Schoolfriends.
Leila told Socialist Worker, “I think schools should be legally obliged to educate children. Children won’t be educated if they’re in the care of Schoolfriends—they’re just offering childminding.
“This is like the school sticking two fingers up to parents. What about low-paid workers who can’t take time off to look after children or afford the money to pay Schoolfriends?”
Leila said that the case was a “warning sign” of what the government is doing to education. “Academies and free schools are unregulated. They can do whatever they want. They don’t have to abide by the Education Act.”
The letter from Shiv Duggal at the Department for Education reads, “There is no legal obligation on academies to educate pupils for a certain number of days.”
It adds, “We believe it is for headteachers and teachers to exercise their professional judgements when making decisions about issues such as the number of days they teach.”
A new clause 28
The government will force children in academies and free schools to learn about “the importance of marriage”.
The requirement is laid out in clause 28 of a model funding agreement for the schools.
This is a drastic change from current guidelines, which allow for children to learn about “stable relationships” as well as about marriage.
It harks back to Margaret Thatcher’s infamous Clause 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act, which banned schools from “promoting homosexuality”.