So what is so bad about Local Authorities?

As someone who has worked in and for the Local Authority during my 44 year career, I really fail to see what is so bad about them that this government feels the need to remove them from state education altogether.  Admittedly some LAs have proved to be sluggish in the extreme in dealing with failing schools, partly because of diminishing funds and increasing priorities for spending in times of declining budgets  but sometimes be ause of lack of commitment and expertise too. I certainly haven’t worked for the best Local Authorities, during my teaching career. The three,for whom I have worked, have been amongst the worst funded and least innovative but overall have aimed to provide a good level of education for its inhabitants.

I freely admit that I know very little about academies and whether or not these MATs, I hear  about, can deliver a better quality of schools for all pupils. I am aware that some have made a positive difference in some schools but I also know that some are failing too. Just like some Local Authorities!

So, why is this government so intent on “forcing” all schools into MATs( Multi Academy Trusts)?  I am sure the ministers will insist that MATs are more accountable to central government and will more readily accept thrir policies, as they are directly funded by the government, so need to “obey” to get their money. After all some locally elected councils often ” dragged their feet” when it came to implementing some policies and tried to oppose when they could…so, it stands to reason, that the government would want to rid itself of such opposition. Forgive me, but it does rather remind me of a dictatorship ridding itself of any opposing elements, or is that too strong? Anyway whatever the reason, I am convinced that providing a better quality of schooling is not the whole reason for this policy.

Since Margaret Thatchet coined theimmortal phrase: “There is no such thing as society!”, the Tories aim, when in power, is to follow up on that statement and abolish the state in all its forms. We see this in many manifestations, not least the manner in which their policies are eating away at the NHS and other forms of universal welfare provision. My fear is that by 2020 this process will be well down the road to completion.

There appears to be little opposition to the Academisation policy of this government. Maybe the Local Authorities are only too glad to relinquish their role in supporting schools. I am sure Tory run councils are right behind it!  The main opposition should come from parents and teachers,  in my opinion. So far their voices are not being heard. Not sure why this should be the case! I guess teachers have been beaten up for so long by both government and the media that they are both individually and collectively so demoralised that, like so many tortured prisoners their will has been smashed!

So, I remain sceptical that MATs will do any better than LAs did. The answer for our children and young people is to make every school a great place of learning and that can only be done by those working in the school…not hugely remunerated Chief executives of MATs or equally well paid ministers….so over to the teachers, as always!

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