Fiona Church

Fiona Church

By Professor Fiona Church, Executive Dean, Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences

In my lecture tonight I cover the subject of academy schools – something that has generated controversy and debate.  I will present a short historical and legal perspective, discuss some of the controversy surrounding academy development and look at social and educational effect they have had during their nine years of existence in various incarnations.

Academies have been around for some 9 years now – they have had various structures and purposes and could still be considered as an evolving type of school. Some Teachers, Unions, Politicians and Parents have been vehemently opposed to what see as the ‘privitisation’ of education – with funding diverted from local authorities and mainstream schools into independent academies.

Successive Conservative, Labour and now coalition governments have developed the concept.  All have been in agreement on the need to improve standards and provide choice in education.  Some academies have been created to replace ‘failing schools’ and some placed in areas with low educational attainment, others have been created to meet particular interests of students or communities.

My stance on academies is that I am neither for nor against them.  What I am for is good schools, supported by the state for all our children.  I hope tonight to give a critical overview of progress so far and to acknowledge the continuing part academies now play in our education system.  Given that fact, it is therefore important for Schools of Education such as our own to maintain a critical overview of academies performance but offer to all schools, academies included, a partnership approach to improving the educational opportunities in the region.

‘Academy Schools – Law, Policy and Social Effect’ will take place on Thursday 16th June at 6.00pm in Kenrick Lecture Theatre, City North Campus.  Attendance to the lecture is free, and open to all with an interest in education policy, the future of schools and the educational experience of young people.

For further information, please contact Sally Greaves on ext. 7318 or email sally.greaves@bcu.ac.uk

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Fiona Church

Fiona Church

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences