The quote is from a rather bemused governor featured within a Guardian piece on the government’s proposal to allow schools to turn into academies for the next schooling year. The time available to do this is part of the controversy around the proposal. One governor remarked on how Gove’s desire for the schools to turn into academies before the end of the holiday as “staggering”, with the Guardian explaining:
“Many schools will have already had their summer term meeting and governors may be going away.”
Given the fact that governors are often parents, it is quite ironic that Gove is being criticised for only contacting the heads of schools about the academy plans as it hardly fits in with the government’s “power to the people” rhetoric. This is nicely summed up by Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governors’ Association:
“That strikes me as deeply ironic given all they’ve said about how they’re going to give power to the parents.”
Whilst this quote was commenting specifically on the limited inclusion of parents in academies in comparison to governors, I think it rather nicely sums up a key problem of this planned educational reform. It also links to the another big problem of the policy idea, which is that the power will be transferred from people such as parents and families to private/business sector interests. The Green Party’s oppositional statement to the move sums this up nicely:
“The Green Party has always spoken in favour of greater freedom for the school to decide how it is run. However this does not and must not mean putting the running of the school into the hands of a private sponsor who may know nothing or very little about education, and taking the power away from parents and teachers who have little representation on the governing body at an Academy.”
This educational policy is part of a wide range of policies intended to solve the ‘Broken Society’ through the ‘Big Society’. Rhetorical soundbites that sound catchy, but attached, are damaging consequences. A key concern that I have raised previously, is the threat of savage cuts to public services.This educational proposal is an epitome of this, the basic principle of the ‘Big Society’ is to enhance private sector interests and decrease the public sector. The ideological disposition towards a smaller state is damaging. Whilst I agree a smaller state in terms of civil rights is desirable, decreasing important and vital state provision, which provides vital public services, whilst increasing private sector interests, will only enhance the inequalities in society.
Lets hope the government actually listens to the people, the people they are supposed to be giving the power back to, and commit as big a u-turn as Cable did on public spending cuts.