This letter from Lib Dem Councillor Lisa Brett of Walcot ward was originally published in the Bath Chronicle on 7 April 2016.
Open letter to Michael Evans, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People:
Ninety point five percent of primary pupils in B&NES attend a good or outstanding school. Our primary schools achieve excellent results because, despite all national pressures, they endeavor to remain focused on supporting childhood development.
By providing back-office support, the aim of B&NES Council has been to enable schools to get on with educating children. The Council performs bureaucratic tasks such as payroll, home-school transport and policy guidance. The Council also successfully assists with improvement support and access to educational psychologists.
Nonetheless the government has announced that every school should be independent of their local authorities.
The leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties in the Local Government Association have united to demand that the government drops plans to force schools to become academies by 2022, but Central Government isn’t listening.
So far there is no evidence that academy status improves school standards, and there is no economic logic to schools operating on their own. Some tasks are more cost effective when they’re managed collectively.
This Government is meddling with B&NES very successful local education system. They’re removing local oversight, cutting schools' budgets, abolishing qualified teachers and removing a national curriculum that ensures all children get a decent education.
Therefore I’m asking you, as Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, to explore with Primary School Heads and School Governors whether B&NES Council can set up its own Academy Trust and maintain the high standards we currently enjoy.
Cllr. Lisa Brett
Liberal Democrat, Shadow Cabinet Member for Children & Young People
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