Academies – Let’s Move The Debate On Says Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt

Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Tristram Hunt [Lab] is for the debate over Academy type schools to move from their governance to what is actually taught in them.

In a letter to the Guardian Newspaper, Tristram highlights his concerns over the teaching of Science in academies being significantly lower than in council controlled schools.

Stoke-on-Trent escaped the government cuts in the BSF programme and as a result 5 academy type schools will be built across the city. They are:

*James Brindley Science College will close and a new academy will be built on the same site.
*Brownhills Maths and Computing College will close and a new academy will be built on the same site.
*Blurton High School Business and Enterprise College will close and a new academy will be built on the same site.
*St. Peters High School and Berry Hill High School will close and a new academy will be built on a new site located at the current Sixth Form College, Fenton.
*Mitchell High School and Edensor Technology College will close and a new academy will be built at a site located in the east of the city.

Here is a copy of Tristram’s letter:

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (New academies will leave pupils struggling to succeed, say critics, 26 July) is right to be worried about the teaching of science in academy schools. The percentage of pupils taking GCSEs in physics, chemistry and the biological sciences in academies is markedly below schools in the maintained sector. And it is the same case in the humanities. Just 17% of pupils in academies take geography GCSE, compared to 27% in the maintained sector; 21% take history GCSE, compared to 31%; and 26% take a modern language, compared to 44%. New evidence from the Historical Association also indicates that academies are more likely to teach history at key stage 3 within a less focused integrated humanities programme. A worrying picture is emerging, with non-specialist teaching of history at key stage 3 being far more common in academies than in other types of school and less time being allocated to the subject.

Perhaps it is time the debate over academy schools moves on from questions of governance to what pupils are actually learning.

Tristram Hunt MP

Lab, Stoke-on-Trent Central