"This seems like a deliberate attempt to get rid of small multi academy trusts and hand them over to these national chains..." Judith Elderkin, NEU
Two years ago, Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey warned that the Tory Government policy on academies would lead to a 'Wild West' in education, "run in the interests of profit..."*
...It now looks as if this is coming to pass as, yesterday, staff at four Salford schools were told that the Department for Education was to wind up the Salford Academy Trust (SAT) which caters for around 2,500 mainly disadvantaged pupils in the city.
The affected schools are Dukesgate Primary, Albion High School, Marlborough Road Primary and Irlam and Cadishead College, which only became a SAT academy last September.
The Salford Academy Trust was created by Salford City College, Salford City Council and the University of Salford in 2012 as a way of staving off takeovers by big school chains more interested in turning a profit than pouring resources into education.
At the time of each conversion there were protests by Salford City UNISON, teachers unions and parents who wanted the schools to remain under local authority control as each was to be a 'forced' academy.**
The schools have recently come out of 'special measures' but in the last two months, Marlborough Road has been inspected and judged to be 'inadequate'. The Department for Education believes that Salford Academy Trust does not have 'sufficient capacity to improve its schools' and is to wind it up.
The four schools are being touted to the United Learning Trust (ULT) that currently runs the Salford Academy, which has itself run into problems with staffing issues and the revelation that it employs 19 people paid over £100,000...
"Money from poor pupils in Salford will be lining the pockets of ULT directors and principals" says Judith Elderkin of the Salford National Education Union "We are very upset about this, as conditions of service and pay progression is poor within ULT and our experience of the leadership roundabout and recent redundancies at the Salford Academy has not been good. They have had multiple leadership changes since they started. The Salford Academy Trust has not been offered any other sponsor at all.
"The Government seems to be having a job at the moment finding sponsors for needy schools and this seems like a deliberate attempt to get rid of small multi academy trusts and hand them over to these national chains" she adds "We would prefer a local and better sponsor, or to get the schools returned to the local authority..."
See also previous related Salford Star articles...
*Salford MP Tells Parents To 'Create Uproar' Over School Academies – click here
**Salford Council Branded A 'Disgrace and a Joke' Over Academies Betrayal – click here
Salford Council Challenged Over Dukesgate Academy Switch – click here
Privatisation of Salford Schools Continues – click here