Schools that have become academies in Milton Keynes are simply not good enough, blasts councillor

All academy schools in MK should be brought back under council control for the sake of the pupils.

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 6th July 2020, 5:05 pm
Updated Monday, 6th July 2020, 5:10 pm

That's the view of Cllr Zoe Nolan, the Cabinet member responsible for children and families.

Her outburst follows last week's "devastating" report from Ofsted that ruled Stantonbury International School inadequate.

Cllr Nolan said the Ofsted report shows that the school becoming an academy, run by out-of-town chain Griffin School’s Trust, has not done anything to improve standards.

Cllr Nolan at Stantonbury International, an academy school

While the vast majority of MK Council community schools are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, a number of academies remain ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’, she said.

“The majority of MK Council schools are good or outstanding. We work with head teachers and governing bodies and share experience and successful leadership. There is very clear evidence that academisation does not improve schools.

"Good leadership improves schools and, as a local authority, we have the support networks to do that. Remote chains that have no links to our area have repeatedly shown they do not improve our schools.”

Stantonbury International become an Academy in 2016, despite at the time showing signs of improvement.

The decision cost local taxpayers over £700,000, and at the same time all the school’s assets were transferred to a private enterprise.

Cllr Nolan said: “For Stantonbury International to become an academy was wrong, and the Conservative zeal to

make schools become academies is a failure. There is no meaningful accountability, no local ability to change things and a remote chain who are detached from our community.

"The school should be returned to Milton Keynes Council, as should all failing schools.”

She added: “The Conservative government have an ideological problem with councils running schools even when

the evidence shows we do a better job than academy chains. They force inadequate schools to

become academies but if academisation doesn’t work there’s no way back.

"Why should the local authority not take over control? We are ready to take Stantonbury International back and do what we do best, help the school become good or outstanding, and fulfil our ambition to give every local child a place in a good school.”