A north Northumberland Lib Dem has raised concerns about the future of education in light of the Government’s proposals for all schools to become academies by 2022.
The party’s Berwick constituency parliamentary spokeswoman, Julie Pörksen, said: “Parents have contacted me with concerns regarding the impact of academisation on the provision of quality education for pupils with special needs, either within mainstream schools or in special schools.
“I am also concerned that plans for academisation and different hours of schools have been insufficiently thought through in terms of access and school transport.
“In rural areas, for many pupils and parents there is little choice of school due to transport issues.
“I believe ensuring the provision of quality, local, accessible and free education is a state responsibility, the idea of a market and academisation does not provide any guarantees to parents and pupils to improve this provision.”
In January, we reported that the county council’s lack of control over academies is a cause for concern as the authority bids to improve education in Northumberland.
The issue was raised during the discussion about director of education Andy Johnson’s annual report.
Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I fear that this Government’s obsession with academies will undo all of the work that we are doing because it will result in a split system.”
He added that there had always been cross-party support within the council for the county’s schools.