As reported by BBC News, school leaders will now have a say in whether they become academies
A new approach has been agreed by Swindon Borough Council and the head teachers’ union NAHT following protests against plans to turn all 23 council-maintained schools into multi-academy trusts (MATs). The council was forced to do a dramatic u-turn after it faced mounting pressure from teaching unions and parents.
Council leader David Renard described the meeting as “extremely productive”.
“We look forward to working with school leaders, governors and our existing multi-academy and stand-alone trusts to do the very best for everyone involved in education in Swindon” said Renard.
Teachers and parents protested outside the council’s Euclid Street offices and packed the committee room at a cabinet meeting last month when the policy was due to be put to cabinet. The original plan was said to have been drafted in line with the former secretary of state’s “direction of travel” to make all schools academies, but that line has since softened. Following discussions the council have assured the head teacher’s union that no school in Swindon will be forced to become an academy, and that and no stand-alone academy will be made to join a multi-academy trust.
Rob Kelsall, NAHT national secretary, said it was a step in the right direction. He said: “In the midst of a global pandemic, which continues to add significant stress and pressure on schools, this is not the time to be distracted by top-down reorganisations.
“Schools of all types must be free to determine their own legal structures. What matters most is the outcomes for children and young people.”