Letter to Guardian

Letter to Guardian
by Peter Newsam


The Guardian defines an academy as “independent of local authorities” (Plan to turn all schools into academies, 16 March). The proper definition is contained in the Education Act 2002. Section 65 defines an academy as a school created by the secretary of state, “under an agreement with any person” who undertakes to “carry on” a school of a certain kind. A school created by and wholly dependent for its existence on a funding contract with a government minister is, in plain English, a government school. That is an academy’s defining characteristic. If all schools in England become government schools, the English school system will have been nationalised. Is that what anyone in England has ever been invited to vote for? In 1944, towards the end of a war against a dictatorship, in The Road to Serfdom, Hayek wrote: “Nowhere has democracy ever worked well without a great measure of local self government.” That remains true. It is democracy itself that is now under attack. For the first time since 1870, locally elected people are to be excluded from oversight of schools in their area. In their place are to be persons, elected by no one, appointed by and accountable to an individual government minister. Who still remembers that this country fought a war against that form of government?

Peter Newsam

Thornton Dale, North Yorkshire