Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Educate the briefers

Whoever is responsible for briefing the story on the front of today's Guardian claiming a retreat on academies clearly needs some education in both education policy and good politics. The Guardian has never needed an excuse to attack academies, and seems desperate to report flaws in the programme, despite the Public Accounts Committee pointing out how much more effective they are than comparable measures to address school failure. Suggestions that the programme is being reviewed because it isn't working play into that agenda, while assisting the Tories in their attempt to suggest a retreat on the academies policy. In fact, a more likely scenario is that academies which have a demonstrable record of delivery in the poorest areas with some of the most disadvantaged pupils - and cost no more to build now than any other secondary schools - are being asked to assist in a wider government strategy to tackle this group of pupils. But that wouldn't have been much of a story, would it? And the Guardian couldn't have been able to give front page attention to claims about the ineffectiveness of specialist schools that fly in the face of both the evidence (pdf) and the experience of schools alongside these claims.

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