30 Jul 2010

 Analysis of the schools that have applied for academy status shows that a large proportion are foundation schools, which already have considerable freedoms.

The analysis, which was conducted by 'SchoolDuggery',* also shows there is a high proportion of selective grammar schools.

Of the 153 schools on the list, 51 are foundation schools,  8 are voluntary-aided, and 3 are voluntary-controlled. All these schools are already largely free of local authority 'control'. 

26 schools are selective grammar schools (it is not clear whether these are community or foundation schools, so they are not included in the list of Foundation, VA and VC schools).

The figures suggest that academy status is attractive to those that already have the freedoms it offers - and perhaps that some grammar schools see it as protection for their selective status (not that there is really any threat).

Perhaps academy status is a badge of honour rather than a genuinely different level of freedom?

You can follow SchoolDuggery on Twitter.

User Comments

SueIan - 30 Jul 2010


Thank you for the use of inverted commas in 'local authority "control". Since 1991, with the introduction of local management of schools, each successive year has made this phrase less relevant. Any chance you could ask your BBC colleagues to stop using it?

Mike Baker's response: you are quite right. I have challenged the phrase but recognise that - in journalistic short-hand - it is one that has proved hard to shake off.

Kate McKenzie - 31 Jul 2010


There is also an issue here about effective use of public funds. GM schools got an extra amount to reflect their opt out - this was then protected when they became foundation and now they'll get it again if they become academies....isn't it time we asked for the money back?

Iftikhar Ahmad - 01 Aug 2010

Free Our Schools

Almost all children now believe they go to school to pass exams. The idea that they may be there for an education is irrelevant. State schools have become exam factories, interested only in A to C Grades. They do not educate children. Exam results do not reflect a candidate’s innate ability. Employers have moaned for years that too many employees cannot read or write properly. According to a survey, school-leavers and even graduates lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. More and more companies are having to provide remedial training to new staff, who can’t write clear instructions, do simple maths, or solve problems. Both graduates and school-leavers were also criticised for their sloppy time-keeping, ignorance of basic customer service and lack of self-discipline.

Bilingual Muslims children have a right, as much as any other faith group, to be taught their culture, languages and faith alongside a mainstream curriculum. More faith schools will be opened under sweeping reforms of the education system in England. There is a dire need for the growth of state funded Muslim schools to meet the growing needs and demands of the Muslim parents and children. Now the time has come that parents and community should take over the running of their local schools. Parent-run schools will give the diversity, the choice and the competition that the wealthy have in the private sector. Parents can perform a better job than the Local Authority because parents have a genuine vested interest. The Local Authority simply cannot be trusted.

The British Government is planning to make it easier to schools to “opt out” from the Local Authorities. Muslim children in state schools feel isolated and confused about who they are. This can cause dissatisfaction and lead them into criminality, and the lack of a true understanding of Islam can ultimately make them more susceptible to the teachings of fundamentalists like Christians during the middle ages and Jews in recent times in Palestine. Fundamentalism is nothing to do with Islam and Muslim; you are either a Muslim or a non-Muslim.

There are hundreds of state primary and secondary schools where Muslim pupils are in majority. In my opinion all such schools may be opted out to become Muslim Academies. This mean the Muslim children will get a decent education. Muslim schools turned out balanced citizens, more tolerant of others and less likely to succumb to criminality or extremism. Muslim schools give young people confidence in who they are and an understanding of Islam’s teaching of tolerance and respect which prepares them for a positive and fulfilling role in society. Muslim schools are attractive to Muslim parents because they have better discipline and teaching Islamic values. Children like discipline, structure and boundaries. Bilingual Muslim children need Bilingual Muslim teachers as role models during their developmental periods, who understand their needs and demands.

None of the British Muslims convicted following the riots in Bradford and Oldham in 2001 or any of those linked to the London bombings had been to Islamic schools. An American Think Tank studied the educational back ground of 300 Jihadists; none of them were educated in Pakistani Madrasas. They were all Western educated by non-Muslim teachers. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. A Cambridge University study found that single-sex classes could make a big difference for boys. They perform better in single-sex classes. The research is promising because male students in the study saw noticeable gains in the grades. The study confirms the Islamic notion that academic achievement is better in single-sex classes.
Iftikhar Ahmad

E POWELL - 17 Jan 2011

Religious Schools

Perhaps it would be better if religion were off the curriculum altogether at school. Most religious denomination schools in the UK began as Church Schools, whether Catholic or C of E. I believe if the Muslim community wants to have Muslim schools then it should be up to Muslims to fund them or contribute to the funding, not to convert Catholic Schools or C of E schools. Other state schools should NOT be converted to any religious denomination - Not everyone believes in religion. We are supposed to have a free thinking society. Since our education system tries to look at all religions in order to develop better tolerance and understanding for the different beliefs, I hope that Muslim schools will also teach their pupils about all religions. You talk about having male only classes. I hope you mean single sex classes, ie. classes for girls too, where girls are taught the national curriculum with equally with high standards. Single sex schools should remain in the private sector. I would hate for our education system to go backwards, where girls were not entitled to an education. Women have campaigned for equal rights in this Country for centuries. I hope you are not proposing that they should be removed! Also, state funded Muslim schools should be Ofsted inspected and comply with our education system as all state funded schools. As it is, your proposals sound secularist. You are confusing religion with social circumstance. We have Muslim teachers in our "non religious" school who are execellent role models to ALL pupils regardles of race, gender, culture or religion. Christian schools also teach discipline, structure and boundaries, so what's your point?

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