Unions support Sheffield Council's rejection of academy programme

Four teaching unions have come out in support of Sheffield Council's opposition to the academisation programme.
Four teaching unions have come out in support of Sheffield Council's opposition to the academisation programme.
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Teaching unions have backed Sheffield Council for opposing Government plans to turn all schools into academies.

Four teaching unions have come out in support of the council after it accused the Government of 'wasting £1.3 billion on an unnecessary top-down reorganisation of schools'.

Toby Mallinson, joint division secretary for the National Union of Teachers in Sheffield said: “All of the Trade Unions in Sheffield welcome the Council’s commitment to oppose more academies being created in Sheffield and we look forward to working with them closely on this.

"The recent furore about Grammar Schools should not distract people from the many other serious issues damaging our education system. Not least of these is its complete break-up into competing academy chains at enormous financial cost to all schools. This is money that should be spent on educating children, not breaking up the education system.”

Lisa Smith, Education Convenor for UNISON said: "UNISON now looks to Sheffield Council's elected representatives to lead the way on what is right for pupils by actively opposing the government's divisive academy programme.

"This means engaging with head teachers, governors and influential organisations such as Learn Sheffield to ensure clarity of the council’s position."

Kathryn Armstrong, ATL, said: "We welcome the council’s commitment to reject forced academisation of schools. The funding for this could be better spent in other areas of education and there is no real evidence that forcing schools to become academies would improve pupils’ attainment or help with any of the challenges faced by our schools."

David Haigh, Sheffield NASUWT Negotiating Secretary said: "The jury is still out on the effectiveness of academy schools and a headlong rush towards such a status for all state funded schools, encouraged by this government by funding cuts to local authorities, limiting their powers and ability to intervene in local education matters means there is no longer a fair playing field in education provision."

Lee Parkinson, GMB said: "We applaud the council's decision to oppose the forced academisation of schools. GMB have opposed the concept that academisation is the answer for schools improvement."