INCENSED parents of children at schools across the Stratford area gathered on the recreation ground on Tuesday (June 28) for a rally against an Orwellian-style bid by the Government to push through ‘The School Bill’.
The contentious bill is currently making its way through the House of Lords, and for parents of school age children it represents what has been described as a “frightening power grab by the Department of Education”.
If cemented in law, it will see individuals schools stripped of power to make decisions over most areas of everyday school life – from the curriculum and school term times, to religious practises and their own finances, to name just a few. Even former education ministers in the House of Lords have allegedly raised concerns over this.
As a result, numerous groups of parents against the Bill have been set up in opposition up and down the country, with Stratford proving no exception. An impressive turnout of parents gathered on Stratford’s Recreation Ground Play Park in a bid to rally up support locally to put a stop to the Bill, including collecting signatures for a petition which will be presented to Parliament.
Under the Bill other changes include:
– All schools must become academies, ending the dual system under which church schools have always operated.
-School governance can be decided by the Department for Education (DfE) as the Bill gives the DfE power to remove governors and replace them itself.
– The Bill provides that worship and RE arrangements in academies can be changed or even removed by DfE regulations.
– Schools set up under trusts would lose the right to receive or buy extra land for their school.
– The DfE will have the right to set absence policies, completely removing the right of any parent to obtain permission from the head teacher for term time off for any reason.
– The DfE will have the right to set admission procedures, regardless of the current admission policies of each school.
– The DfE will set the salary levels for teachers
– The DfE will control how the proprietors of school spend their money, completely removing their autonomy.
Jennifer Hingley Rogers, coordinator for the Stratford group, told The Observer: “What this Bill does to parents is takes away their right, as a parent, to choose the education for their own child and gives that right to faceless civil servants in the DfE who do not know the child. It makes all education provision come under the control of the DfE and local authorities with no exceptions.
“Parents and carers of children under 18 are naturally outraged at this new Bill which is aiming to take away parental rights, choice and decision and hand this over to government officials. Across the UK, groups of parents completely opposed to the School Bill have been set up with satellite groups such as the one in Stratford to raise awareness and collect signatures to present to Parliament”, she added.
For more information about the Stratford group visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/362492692619015/?ref=share