Socialist Worker

Take academies back into public hands

Issue No. 2580

Anti-academies protest in Lewisham, south east London, in 2015

Anti-academies protest in Lewisham, south east London, in 2015 (Pic: Andrew Smith)

The scandal over Wakefield City Academies Trust has exposed the realities of privatisation. Many people want the schools abandoned by the trust to be run by the council.

That might seem impossible—but it can be done.

The Isle of Wight’s Sandown Bay academy was put into special measures earlier this year after failings by its sponsor, the Academies Enterprise Trust.

In a consultation, parents and students overwhelmingly said it should be returned to council control.

The Department for Education has conditionally agreed—and plans are underway to create a council-run school.

The Tories have been pushed back nationally too. In March 2016 they unveiled plans to force every school in England to become an academy by 2020. Mass opposition and protests forced them to withdraw the attack within weeks.

Over two thirds of schools in England are still run by local authorities, less than a third are academies and 2 percent are free schools.

We can defend publicly-run schools, but it’s a shame that Labour isn’t doing so. Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said recently that Labour should “move on” from debates over academies.

Labour should oppose academies and fight for a properly accountable, comprehensive education system.

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