Allendale: Political football
Published at 07:42, Wednesday, 06 February 2013
WHEN will education stop being a political football? When will ‘here-today-gone-tomorrow’ secretaries of state for education stop interfering and constantly changing things?
When will they learn to leave the important decisions to those most qualified to make them – i.e. teachers, parents and governors?
It beggars belief that Allendale Middle School is faced with the invidious choice between closure and academy status.
No one denies that there have been serious problems at the school or that drastic measures are required. However, the two options on offer seem just to reflect the entrenched political agendas of the two major protagonists in this unsavoury tug-of-war.
On the one hand, the local authority seems determined to renew its (generally unpopular) campaign to restore the two-tier system, at least in West Tynedale (could this mean the beginning of the end for the three-tier system in the whole county?).
On the other hand, Michael Gove seems hell bent on enticing schools, with enhanced finance, to join his ever-expanding network of academies which, as Tony Webster rightly implies (Talking Point, January 25), merely exchange local authority control for control by an even more remote central government.
Surely, it is not beyond the wit of people of reason and goodwill from all the parties concerned to come up with a more common-sense solution, which would avoid all the tensions and ‘bad blood’ generated by the present impasse – fight to keep the school open, albeit on the basis of radical internal changes.
Closing the school would surely be a dagger blow to the parents and pupils of Allendale Middle, while academy status (a dubious ‘lesser of two evils’) could well have serious drawbacks.
All any school needs to be successful is a top quality headteacher and staff, plus supportive parents and governors, all committed to providing the best possible education for the children.
Perhaps those concerned should now fight for this third, sensible option and take on those who seem bent on continuing their game of political football.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk