Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has warned Education Secretary Michael Gove to ‘stop bullying’ local primary schools in his constituency to accept new ‘Academy’ status in place of being part of Middlesbrough Council’s education authority.
Tom said: “The heads and governors at local primary schools are now being told by Mr Gove and his civil servants that they must make a decision to become self-governing academies rather than stay as part of the Middlesbrough Council school family.”
“I have been told by governors, teachers and parents – who will remain nameless as they feel intimidated by the whole process – that Mr Gove’s civil servants at the Department for Education are putting pressure on schools to make a decision within weeks. These are fundamental decisions affecting the whole future direction of these schools but they are being presented with no financial plan and no knowledge of who, if anyone, is willing to become sponsors.”
“My message is simple: Mr Gove should back off, and allow these schools the time and the space to make their own decisions. If schools want to become academies then they should be allowed to do so but should not be forced by the Secretary of State into making snap decisions.”
“On the one hand he claims to be giving schools more autonomy yet on the other – as we can see in this case – he is trying to force them to accept his will without fully considering the impact. This is typical of the Education Secretary and is happening across the country – in one case I know of this is being challenged in the courts. Our schools and our children deserve better.”