Steve Brine raises local concerns over new academies push

Steve Brine took part in a Parliamentary debate on the Government's White Paper on the future of schools on Wednesday 13th April, and expressed the 'confusion' that had been fed back to him from his constituency.

 

Following the Budget, where it was announced the Government planned for all schools to become academies by the end of this Parliament, Mr Brine wrote to all schools asking them for their initial thoughts.

In Hampshire, 85% of our schools are rated 'good' or 'outstanding', and Steve made the point to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

He said: "If I were to sum up the concerns expressed to me by local teachers, it would be with the word 'confusion'. They are confused about why something that is so obviously not broken needs fixing... we must not allow the bad to become the enemy of the good.

"What would her advice be to Hampshire, where the numbers converting to academy status are relatively low because schools are getting a good service from the existing local education authority? Is there any reason why Hampshire should not create, for instance, a new independent organisation, through which services that our schools—including those that are already academies —so value can continue to be delivered?"

Mrs Morgan confirmed to the House that there is a new role for local authorities, for talented individuals in local authorities to set up their own multi-academy trusts to provide services to schools and to build on the excellence that we already have.

Neighbouring MP Caroline Nokes, from Romsey, also took part in the debate, and highlighted the view of Marcus Roe, head of Ampfield School, in her constituency, and of John Keble School in Hursley.

Mr Roe had made the point that the model of 'headteachers know best' should also apply to whether academy status was right for them or not.

Speaking after the debate, Steve, who also met that day with Schools Minister Nick Gibb and Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery to discuss the issue, said: "It is important to note that this is only a White Paper on which Government may come forward with legislation in due course.

"It is a discussion document which is enabling Ministers to take careful feedback on the proposals, and I am very much continuing my discussions here in Winchester & Chandler's Ford."

 

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HANSARD