GMB Calls On Yorkshire Head Teachers To Come Clean On Acadamies

16 Jun 2010

GMB CALLS ON YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE HEAD TEACHERS TO COME CLEAN ON ACADEMIES AS DfE SAYS “WE WILL NOT BE PUBLISHING THE NAMES OF THE SCHOOLS AT THIS STAGE.”

GMB has written to the Secretary of State for Education asking him to reverse his departments stated policy of refusing to disclose names of schools that have expressed an interest in academy status. See copy of letter below.

Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Education, wrote to every school last month encouraging them to register their school to apply for Academy Status. All schools that are currently rated ‘outstanding’ by education watchdog Ofsted automatically now meet the new criteria to apply for Academy status. The Government told the House of Commons that more than 1,000 school heads and governors have “expressed an interest” in taking their school out of the control of local councils. The new Tory/ Liberal coalition government has decided that those ranked by Ofsted as “outstanding” can be fast tracked through the process and apply to become academies as early as September 2010.

The Department for Education (DfE) is refusing to reveal the names of the schools, or even to give the number from each county that have expressed an interest. County councils, staff and parents are all in the dark because they have no role to play in the process and they are increasingly asking for the names.

Despite the pressure, a DfE spokesman said, “We will not be publishing the names of the schools at this stage.” When asked if figures would be released on how many schools from each county were in the race, he said: “Some counties are very small, and there is too much risk of the schools being identified.”

GMB  publishs below the names of all schools in Yorkshire and Humberside region that expressed an interest in academy status in 2006. Shown is the proposed name and some went on to become academies.

Expressions of Interest for Academies (source: Freedom of Information request to the Department for Education and Skills, June 2006)
Barnsley Barnsley Academy
Bradford Bradford Academy
Dixons City Academy
Dixons Allerton Academy
Appleton Academy
University Academy Keighley
Calderdale North Halifax Academy
Doncaster Trinity Academy
Northcliffe Academy
The Woodlands Academy
Leeds David Young Community Academy
The South Leeds Academy
Intake Academy

Rotherham   Maltby Academy
Sheffield Sheffield Park Academy
Parkwood Academy
Wakefield Outwood Grange Academy
Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary for Yorkshire & North derbyshire said “Schools should come out of the shadows where they have expressed an interest in academy status and start answering questions because there is too much at stake for schools to stampede over the rights of everyone involved.

The Department of Education has been quoted saying that there is no intention to publish the names of the schools for the time being nor even where those schools are for fear of them being identified. This lack of openness and transparency is not only undemocratic but from the point of view of our work as a trade union representing the interests of school support staff it is preventing us and discouraging schools from carrying out the necessary consultation in a timely and lawful fashion. GMB is putting into public domain the names of schools in this region that expressed an interest in academy status in 2006. Have they done so again?  GMB has called on Michael Gove to authorise officials to immediately publish the names of the schools who have expressed an interest in becoming Academies.”

11 June 2010
Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State for Education
Department for Education
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BT

Dear Mr Gove                                  

ACADEMIES

You wrote to all maintained schools in England on 26 May inviting them to express an interest in becoming an Academy school and indicating a fast-track process so that schools could make that change for the September term.

I understand that around 5% of schools have so far applied and GMB, which represents 120,000 school support staff, has been trying to establish who these schools are so that we can begin the necessary consultations (TUPE for example) at the earliest opportunity prior to decisions being taken.  You will appreciate that with the summer intervention it is difficult to see how consultation can be carried out properly for any school seeking to change status in September given the few weeks left of the current term.

However this is even more problematic given that the identity of the schools expressing an interest is unknown.  Further I am aware of news reports that an official spokesman from your department is quoted as saying that there is no intention to publish the names of the schools for the time being nor even where those schools are for fear of them being identified.

This lack of openness and transparency is not only undemocratic but from the point of view of our work as a trade union representing the interests of school support staff it is preventing us and discouraging schools from carrying out the necessary consultation in a timely and lawful fashion.

Could I therefore ask you to consider changing the advice of your department’s Officials in light of these reasonable representations and authorise those Officials to immediately publish the names of the schools who have expressed an interest in becoming Academies.

Yours sincerely

Brian Strutton
National Secretary