Lawrence Wishart Blog: FORUM

FORUM 64/3 Autumn 2022 Call for Papers

Posted on 09/05/2022

Full academisation: a policy whose time is gone?

Contributions are invited for the Autumn 2022 issue of FORUM, for which the copy date is Friday 22 July.

The government’s recent White Paper reiterated a commitment to turn each of England’s state schools into an academy.  The stated ambition is for all schools by 2030 to have joined, or be preparing to join, what are termed ‘strong multi-academy trusts’.  Over the next three years government will provide £86M to help multi-academy trusts (MATs) enlarge.  There will be new quality standards for MATs, and a new unified system of oversight and regulation.  The Department for Education, through Regional Directors (to be appointed, not elected) will decide on new schools, and school expansions.

This plan carries significant implications, in particular for the primary sector (where only 39% of schools are academies, compared to 80% of secondaries) and for individual schools not yet part of a MAT, as well as for those parts of the country still burdened by the grammar/secondary modern divide.  It further erodes the oversight a local authority wields over the education of children and young people in a given area, with implications for local democratic accountability.

The government originally set 2022 as the date for accomplishing full academisation.  Strong and persistent campaigning, and well-grounded challenges to the evidence drawn on by government for the policy’s supposed beneficial effects, have forced a delay.  Full academisation will remain highly controversial as the next General Election begins to loom larger.

We welcome articles for the Autumn 2022 number of FORUM which engage critically with the revised academisation policy outlined in the White Paper.  Why should this policy continue to matter?  What exactly are the implications for particular schools or kinds of school, for the nature and quality of education to be offered, for local governance and democracy, and for the comprehensive ideal?  What can and should be done in response?

Whether you are an educational practitioner, an academic, a campaigner, a trade union activist, or involved at any level in education in another capacity, we’d be glad to hear from you.  Prospective contributors are welcome to contact Patrick Yarker in the first instance to discuss any aspect of their article. When submitting your article, please include a short abstract – between 70 and 120 words is plenty – and a sentence or two of autobiographical information, as well as a publishable contact email address. The copy-date for this issue of FORUM is Friday 22 July. You are welcome to send in your article sooner.

There’s no set word limit for a FORUM article, but many weigh in at between 1500 and 4000 words. We offer a platform for writing which is heartfelt as well as thought-through. Contributors are encouraged to say what they think needs saying in the way they feel it needs to be said. FORUM is not peer-reviewed, though the Editor and/or members of the Editorial Board will read and respond to all contributions. Past issues of the journal are available online at: https://lwbooks.co.uk/journal/forum   Save for those very recently published, articles are freely downloadable.

With kind regards,
Patrick Yarker
Editor, FORUM: for promoting 3 to 19 comprehensive education.

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