Academies Bill passed by Parliament – “A bad day for democracy”

The Academies Bill, allowing schools to opt out of local council control as early as September, was approved by Parliament on Wednesday (27 July).

The vote was 317 in favour, 225 against. The legislation is expected to receive royal assent on Tuesday before the summer parliamentary recess.

The National Union of Teachers described the bill as an “attack on the very existence of democratically accountable, free state comprehensive education.”

Caroline Lucas, Green Party Leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion, said after the bill was passed by the Commons, “Today, with this bill’s passage, is a bad day for democracy and for education. This was legislation that was rushed through Parliament, without proper consultation. We should be improving the quality of every local school for all children, rather than accelerating Labour’s programme of academies to deepen divisions between schools.”

Caroline Lucas proposed a number of amendments to the bill, none of which were adopted, in an attempt to make the process of establishing them more open, democratic and fair.

Her amendments, if passed, would have:

– made it mandatory for all Academies to follow the national curriculum – ensured that Academies can revert to maintained status
– ensured that Academy schools should have no charitable status – allowed parents and the wider community to make representations for any funding arrangements for Academies
– placed a limit of 25% of voting rights for Academy sponsors on Academy boards, to ensure proper democratic and community representation.

Published and promoted by Tracy Dighton-Brown for The Green Party, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

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