Moderate union considers academy action

Mary Bousted Image caption ATL General Secretary Mary Bousted called the government's academy plan "madness"

One of the most moderate teaching unions is to consider industrial action over government plans to force all schools in England to become academies.

The measure is "an attack on democracy" according to an emergency motion to be debated at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Liverpool.

In her speech, ATL general secretary Mary Bousted called the plan "madness".

On Monday, School Minister Nick Gibb said the plan made schools "profession-led" - though he faced some heckling.

Under the plan almost 17,000 schools which have not already converted to academy status - mostly primaries - must do so by 2020 or have committed to do so by 2022.

The ATL's emergency motion, to be debated by the conference on Tuesday afternoon asks delegates to "condemn the White Paper 'Educational Excellence Everywhere' as an attack on democracy".

The motion warns the conversion of schools to academy status will be achieved without regard to the wishes of parents, staff or local communities and without proper Parliamentary scrutiny.

The move represents "ever greater centralism and micro-management".

"It takes no account of the growing evidence of failing academies but insists on a blind adherence to an ideology with no foundation in fact," says the motion.

The motion calls for the ATL to work with "all those concerned", including other education unions to opposed forced academisation and to consider what forms of action, including potential industrial action, may be needed.

In her speech to conference on Tuesday morning, Dr Bousted backed called for a co-ordinated response.

"Alone we can do something. Together we can do great things.

"We must fight together to protect our profession, for the sake of the children and young people whose education depends on us.

"And we will fight and if we fight together, with parents and councillors, with other unions, with politicians, with governors, with the whole of civil society which opposes the madness of forced academisation, then we will win," Dr Bousted concluded.

Earlier in the speech Dr Bousted called the white paper a "very strange document".

"It asks us to believe six impossible things before breakfast, including the big whopper - that the forced academisation of all schools will improve educational standards."

The government's plans have drawn criticism from teachers, unions and Tory local councillors.

At its conference over Easter, the National Union of Teachers voted to ballot for strike action over the academies plan.

The Labour Party has said its own analysis of official figures suggests the plan could cost £1.3bn with a shortfall in funding of over £1.1bn.

But in a speech to the NASUWT union over the Easter weekend, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said there was no going back on plans to make every school an academy by 2020.

Ms Morgan maintained the government's plans would improve the education system in England.

Read more

Looking for a British School in the Middle East?

Looking for an Educational Supplier?