We can win the fight against forced academisation, says union leader

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) could take industrial action to challenge the government’s plans to turn all schools into academies

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the moderate ATL teaching union, believes the “fight” against all-out academisation can be won.

In a speech to delegates at the ATL annual conference, Dr Bousted condemned the government’s plans, claiming the move to turn all schools into academies was about “breaking the public service ethos of teachers and school leaders” – rather than education standards.

At the conference in Liverpool this morning, she said: “Never has the time been more right for a coordinated response from all education unions to the attack we are facing.

“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.”

This afternoon, the ATL will vote on an emergency motion calling for industrial action against the government’s plan to turn all schools in England into academies.

‘Attack on the teaching profession’

The motion condemns the government’s education White Paper as an “attack on democracy” and an “attack on the teaching profession”.

Members will vote to decide whether they will work with other unions “to defend the public service ethos of the profession” and oppose forced academisation.

Dr Bousted said: “The White Paper is a very strange document, you know. Written in breathless prose, it paints a picture which, to me, is unrecognisable. 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.

“So, what is forced academisation of all schools really about? We know it’s not about education standards – it’s about running schools as businesses and it’s about breaking the public service ethos of teachers and school leaders.”

She also used her speech to criticise the current curriculum and the amount of assessment in the education system.

She said: “The curriculum is insane. It is designed by people who know nothing of how to promote enjoyment of, and development in, writing abilities.”

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