Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said all state school pupils in England should be taught in academy chains, stating that the pandemic has shown it is “no longer viable for schools to be single entities”.
This is a terrifying moment for individual freedom and parents’ rights to choose from a range of schools.
The pandemic has demonstrated that children need inspirational pastoral care and a curriculum and assessment model which is fit for the 21st century, delivered by leaders who know their communities. This is not the time for a factory model of education which commodifies children and young people.
We certainly need professional dialogue and joined-up thinking but we do not need a homogeneous corporate lumping together of children and teachers, or an outmoded conveyor belt world of production lines, when we are dealing with human lives.
Some schools are part of academy chains while others are under local authority control, a system Gavin Williamson described as “pick and mix”. Teachers in all types of schools have spent the past year working incredibly hard to teach pupils remotely and keep track of vulnerable children. They are now navigating changes to exams and keeping classrooms Covid-secure. Thinking about the structure of their school is likely to be low down their list of priorities.
Anna Davis, Education Editor
PM’s shocking telephone fiasco
News that Boris Johnson’s mobile number was freely available on the internet for the past 15 years is a serious breach of national security. It defies belief post-9/11 that such a thing could occur and sensitive information possibly obtained. Boris’s communications must be secure at all times and he has a duty of care to the nation.