A CONSULTATION on the future of Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury officially concluded yesterday, but both teachers and parents want an extension to the consultation period.

At a crowded public meeting last Tuesday at Christ Church on Fog Lane, attended by teachers, parents, students and local councillors, the possible academisation of Manchester’s largest secondary school was hotly debated. Calls were made for the consultation to be extended into the New Year, as Parrs Wood plan to reveal the findings of the consultation this Thursday.

Teachers and parents have both expressed concern about the proposals.

One teacher, who did not wish to be named, believes that turning the school into an academy is a back door way to privatisation. The teacher stated: “Even though at the moment, schools can’t be run for profit, I can see that legislation being changed. I think this is just a way of fragmenting the education system and making it less accountable to democratic bodies like, in this instance, the local education authority.”

The teacher added: “I also think that there’s no educational, pedagogical research that suggests that academies are any better for the students, so I think this is purely an ideology of the current government, who dislike the public sector and they want as much of it possible to be in private hands.”

Another teacher explained, “The benefits, as advertised, tend to be the idea schools can in some way gain possession of its own future. But I think that here, we are talking about a trust who are not necessarily locally or democratically accountable as they are at the moment under the local education authority.

“We are all speaking as a collective. The NUT, the NAS/UWT and UNISON had a joint and collective ballot with 81 present at the meeting and the vote was unanimous against academisation and also for pro-active opposition to academisation.”

Alison Harris of Didsbury, who has a child in Year Eight at Parrs Wood is also concerned. She said, “I can’t foresee any benefits that academisation would bring to Parrs Wood. The reasons have reduced in the last few months in any case. For example, there used to be a financial incentive which has now gone.”

Parrs Wood High School have been contacted for comment

By Anthony Murphy


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