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The Education Bill goes to Committee Stage once more in the House of Commons tomorrow [10 March 2011] in Committee Room 9 at 9am.. Many parts of the bill deal with academies. You can watch this committee meeting live online and possibly on TV on Parliament Channel.
The education journalist Fiona Millar writes this about the bill.........
"If a new school is needed, academy/free school bids must be prioritised before any other type of school can be considered, the Secretary of State will decide who runs it, local authorities are frozen out of the process and new maintained schools will be almost impossible to achieve.
The government is also to give itself powers to transfer land directly to free schools, the requirement for locally established admissions forums is to be ditched, at a time when there may be an explosion of autonomous schools, the Schools Adjudicator will no longer be able to require schools to change illegal entry criteria and parents will no long be able to complain to the local government ombudsman.
Translated into everyday life these changes mean that, far from having choice, parents will have a very limited menu; an academy, or an academy called a free school; no say in who runs it; no local scrutiny of how it manipulates its admissions and no meaningful role for the local authority in planning places to meet local needs.
In a sense it is encouraging that the take up of academies and free schools has been so sluggish that the financial carrot has now been replaced by a big stick. But these clauses, alongside the changes to the teaching workforce, and the curriculum, represent a massive power, and land, grab away from local communities and to central government, for which there is no mandate."
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