Nicky Morgans U turn on forced academisation is to be welcomed.
If maintained schools are good, or outstanding, then they should be supported. It would be dreadful politics and counterproductive in the efforts to raise attainment to force structural changes on successful institutions, almost certainly against the will of parents. If schools are underperforming or failing then that is another matter.
Its not hard to find pretty solid support in the Conservative party for academies .But this is balanced by a visceral distrust of centrally driven prescriptive interventions . Whitehall doesn’t always know best.In power it seems conservative ministers are no different from others in forgetting this maxim
Politicians should always go with what works, and what the evidence tells them. That is, of course, what they say they do ,but is not always reflected in their decisions and practice. They should also respect the views of parents and heed the choices that they make. That is supposed to be at the heart of modern conservative thinking, and Ministers ignore that essential truth ,at their peril.
There is a narrative developing in government that suggests that the views of parents really arent that important. In the last tranche of Free schools (new academies) just one parent led bid was approved, and now there is no requirement to have parents on governing boards. We now seem a country mile away from the thinking that informed Camerons Big Society idea (remember that?) and the initial Free schools programme. Ensuring schools are close to local communities means engaging parents systematically. Evidence tells us too that meaningful parental engagement is vital to raising standards. Ministers need to reflect on this now, as a matter of urgency.