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UK to change all schools to academies by 2020

GuyWithAStick

Captain Basic
Ok, the title may be a bit harsh, but the UK Government will focus on turning schools into 3rd party "Academies". In a positive aspect, it means teachers can now teach on what they feel is more necessary on a certain subject. Negatively, teachers don't have to be qualified, and won't have a regulated wage.


This was the latest article I could find on the situation, but from what I hear, the draft legislation was published:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016 ... -academies

Sorry if I got any of this info wrong. I'm an American trying to deliver UK Political information. Not everything will be correct.
 

Nicky

Member
Re: UK to 'close' all schools by 2020

Not quite sure about you saying that teachers can slip whatever they want into lessons. Kinda find that offensive as a teacher. Whether they are an academy or not, we still have national expectations with assessments.

I work in a school at the moment that will have to become an academy. What it means is that the local authority will no longer have any power over the schools in their area.

There are positives and negatives about the situation. The main concern is how the process is going to happen and the fact that converting a school into an academy doesn't not necessarily mean that it improves.

Some schools are already academies. I know that in my area all the secondaries are already converted.

To be honest, nothing is really going to change other than school names unless you are with a large academy chain like Harris, ARK or Oasis.

I think comparing this to Donald Trump and his policies is a step too far.
 

furie

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Re: UK to 'close' all schools by 2020

Yeah, it's essentially being used to privatise the school system. As Nicky says (hello Nicky, welcome back :) ), it doesn't mean standards drop though - in fact it's potentially the opposite.

There's a basic standard schools have to meet and targets they must meet through rigorous testing. An academy has to meet expectations. There's been a gradual rise in pressure on teachers and students to raise the amount of learning done in the classroom. Maxi-Minor_Furie is currently doing enough work at 10 to be able to pass a GCSE qualification in maths (aimed at 15/16 year olds for those outside the UK). We know this because Madame_Furie is currently doing a maths GCSE (she already has one, but as a teaching assistant they've asked her to do a refresher) and MMF can do a lot of the exam papers she's been practising.

So no, there won't be a slip in standards. There's an argument that by pushing so hard and fast you create an "intellectual divide" in the classroom though. If a child doesn't understand the concept of multiplication on a Monday, then by the time they're on to quadratic equations on the Friday, that child is utterly lost with no chance of ever catching up. Though that's a different topic :lol:

Anyway, I think the original idea was that if a school wasn't performing that a firm could come in to help uplift things. It also allowed for schools in a town that were strong in one area to allow other schools in the area to use their facilities. So if school A had excellent IT performance and school B excellent arts, the students from school B could use school A's IT and vice versa. So the upshot is that the kids get the best from what is available in the area.

There are more worrying things though. Like the fact that private firms have been handed over the schools (and potentially the land they sit on) for their own use. There's very little to stop an academy that is "underachieving" that sits on land worth 100's of millions to the housing sector to be closed and merged with a nearby school on less valuable land. Though that's kind of the scaremongering side end of the scale - nobody but an absolute cynic would think the government would support that kind of behaviour ;)
 

Thekingin64

Well-Known Member
Re: UK to 'close' all schools by 2020

I'm not particularly fond of the idea either but as Nicky said, even if you are allowed to do/say whatever, there is still a standard you'll have to stick to. All British unis (and I believe american colleges can as well) can currently teach what they want since each lecturer writes their part of the exam. From my point of view as a student, it is rarely noticeable that that is the case and while national curriculums are great in schools, they wouldn't work in unis since I feel it would restrict the lecturers a bit too much.

Schools should keep the national curriculum though as otherwise I can see this coming full circle in that, if they scrap the curriculums everyone will complain that certain schools teach different things and no-one is up to the same speed (its bad enough with the different exam boards...).

Teacher/lecturer qualifications should be a given anywhere to avoid any truly bad teachers. While most people would be good enough to become a teacher, one of my lecturers here is terrible and would never get any teaching qualification. He's boring, monotone, mumbles through everything, can't understand him through his thick accent..... there's are reason usually only about 13 people turn up to his lectures! (Out of roughly 60-70 people enrolled on this module)
 

mouse

Active Member
Re: UK to 'close' all schools by 2020

Not sure what you mean by the title, no schools are being 'closed'.
The main difference between an academy and normal school is probably the funding. An academy gets its funding directly from the government instead of through a local authority. Academy status does provide a school with more independence and freedom to, for example, change the hours of a school day or introduce different holidays, as well as opting out of the national curriculum.

Teachers won't be able to 'slip in' whatever they want into lectures, they will still have a curriculum they must follow - whether it is the national curriculum or not. It's not like some crazy headmaster can just turn the academy into a secret spa or something, there is still inspection and regulation from ofsted, academy trusts and regional school commissioners. It is basically a way to privatise the schools, although the government claim it's mainly for schools to innovate - which is true to an extent as they will have the freedom to.

Personally I don't think there will be a massive difference. I expect most academies will stick to the national curriculum anyway. If anything there will probably be a wider range of 'types' of schools and there will be more results-driven competition between schools. A quick Google has told me that 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools are already academies (BBC website). Becoming an academy has proved to be popular amongst headmasters anyway - I know that 3 local schools near me have made the transition recently. Perhaps given time it would happen with all schools anyway.

So I don't think there will be a massive difference, saying that Donald Trumps presidency is a worse idea is absolute ****.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Re: UK to 'close' all schools by 2020

This and the whole free schools idea makes a fair bit of money for governors and those running the academy 'sponsors'. Who always tend to be affiliated with those people making these decisions.

Convenient, that.
 

Sandman

Active Member
This passage was taken from the BBC website story and explains what it's all really about...

"The principal advantages to school leaders of academy status are that they are exempt from the national curriculum and the national pay regulations for teachers."

".......Exempt from the national pay regulations for teachers! ....."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-35814215

Ahhh! There you go! MONEY!
Nothing to do with school improvement, nothing to do with curriculum reform, nothing to do with anything about the education of our country's children. Money.

That's what it's all about! Bloody money.
 

gavin

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^ It can go both ways though. Some academies actually pay more than the going government rate, depending on the teacher. They want to attract the best teachers from "regular" schools and do that by offering a better package.

On the other hand, there can be a lot of hoops to jump through just to get the regular pay, with some heads of academies seemingly using salaries to effectively bully teachers into unrealistic workloads and vastly increased hours.

I'm not sure what to think of it really. On paper, it's good that teachers have to "prove themselves" worthy of their salaries - there are plenty of teachers (usually older it has to be said) floating through and getting paid regardless. Teaching salaries aren't great for the first few years - quite annoyingly really since you'll generally find newer teachers putting more into the job - but if you've been doing it a while, then it's decent.

It's currently incredibly difficult to get rid of a bad teacher; they'd have to do something seriously wrong to get sacked, and even then it could/would be a long process, usually on full pay. The academy system addresses that to an extent. Like I said though, take that system away and you can be left with megolomaniac heads with fewer people to answer to. The perceived decrease in job security will be an issue for most teachers.

A lot of parents will perceive it in a very positive light; teachers should be seen to work for their money. Too many parents seem to see teachers as the enemy though, usually through having a s**t time at school themselves. However, (even more) tired, stressed and unhappy teachers are not going to be working effectively. You wouldn't want a tired and stressed doctor to operate on your kid, but the same courtesy isn't extended to teachers on the whole.

During training, we were basically told not to go for jobs at academies if we could get jobs at government schools because, from a teacher's perspective, they can be very hit and miss. Move from one governement school to the next and your salary would automatically stay the same. Move to an academy and you could have to justify that salary. Admittedly, most academies, that I've heard of at least, don't make it an issue and tend to pay the going rate.

Personally, the idea that all schools will now become academies makes the idea of teaching in the UK even less attractive than it is now. Honestly, I got more job satisfaction from teaching in the UK than I do here - and I was on a permanent contract, unlike the two-year contracts here, meaning my job was very secure - but it was a LOT more work and a LOT more stress for a LOT less money. F**k it, quite frankly.
 
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