Parliament to debate plans for 100 per cent academisation for the first time

The Labour party has called for a debate on the new schools White Paper in the House of Commons tomorrow.

The debate, which is due to take place in the afternoon, will be the first opportunity for MPs to discuss the government’s plans to force all schools to become academies by 2022.

Labour entered an Opposition Day debate motion on the White Paper to “build a consensus about the best way forward for our schools”.

The motion calls on the government to put the proposals on hold as it claims there is “insufficient evidence that they will raise standards”.

It highlights the fact that the “vast majority of schools affected by this policy will be primary schools” of which it says more than 80 per cent are already good and outstanding.

The White Paper’s proposal to remove parent governors from school governing bodies “will reduce the genuine involvement of parents and communities in local schools”, the motion adds.

Several education unions have welcomed the opportunity to test the parliamentary support for the plans.

Great to see education white paper will be debated tomorrow thanks to @LucyMPowell. Time for govt to give greater clarity to school leaders.

— NAHT (@NAHTnews) April 12, 2016

Good motion from Labour’s @LucyMPowell for debate in Commons tomorrow. 1st test of parliament’s opinion. Good luck! pic.twitter.com/9bU7gEYkCg

— Kevin Courtney (NUT) (@cyclingkev) April 12, 2016

Ahead of the debate, Lucy Powell, shadow education secretary, said: “This is Parliament’s first chance to debate the government’s plans to force all primary and secondary schools into academy chains by 2022 against a growing tide of opposition from parents, teachers and communities.

“Many Conservative Members of Parliament, alongside local government leaders have also expressed concern at the plans.”

The Labour MP added: “My aim in calling this debate is not to divide the House but to build a consensus about the best way forward for our schools.

“We know this top-down reorganisation of the schools system is going to cost over £1 billion at a time when schools are facing real terms budget cuts for the first time since the mid-1990s. The plans will also cut out the genuine involvement of parents and communities in our schools.

“Schools are facing a teacher shortage crisis, the schools places system is broken and the attainment gap is now wider than when David Cameron came to office yet this measure will do nothing to tackle these issues.”

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

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