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What becoming an academy really means

By shill  |  Posted: January 07, 2014

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I NOTE the article re Whitesheet Primary School celebrating its new start as an academy.

Perhaps this article could have given more details of what becoming an academy means.

It is not just a renaming exercise. The school building and land have now been transferred, via 125-year lease to its new owners. All investment by ratepayers and taxpayers over the years has gone with it.

Academies can set their own pay and conditions. When Twynham Comprehensive School in Dorset became an academy, the headteacher received a pay rise of more than 30%. This seems an odd thing to do in a time of austerity, burden sharing and 1% blanket on public sector pay.

Whitesheet Academy will now be run by a private company only answerable to to the Minister for Education. Local accountability and democracy have been extinguished.

Obviously any increases in the remuneration of senior staff will mean a reduction in funds for spending on the school’s pupils.

Perhaps the Diocese of Salisbury Multi Academy Trust will be honest and transparent enough to publish the new salaries of the “executive principal” and the “principal”, along with the salaries they earned before Whitehseet became an academy.

I have spent four months finding out some details of the academy programme. It is opaque, unaccountable and involves the liberal use of public assets and monies without any mandate.

Only one MP, my constituency MP Bob Walter, has ever answered my letters.

Civil servants have been dishonest and obstructive. The three main political parties will not discuss or question the academy programme.

Accountable? Transparent? Democratic?

Richard Foley, Tarrant Hinton

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