If a school becomes an academy, what becomes of it as an asset?

The Argus, 16th May 2014 in Letters

I have read with interest the different views about the proposal to turn Hove Park School into an academy. As a parent of children at Hove Park, I still have many questions relating to the school’s facilities and its removal from local authority educational provision.

Brighton and Hove City Council has a statutory duty to ensure that every child in the city receives an education. It would retain this even if Hove Park and every other school in Brighton and Hove were to switch to academy status.

However, academy schools have no such obligation and can actually be selective in deciding which students to accept and what schools provision to provide, in terms of age range, special needs, geographical location and more. Clearly, under the proposed business model, the most “profitable” children would be most desirable to academy schools.

The local authority will not only have lost its “per pupil” funding for certain essential services currently pooled across all schools to garner efficiencies but, with no assets in terms of premises under its control, it would have no way of planning or providing for those children deemed economically undesirable and not provided for in academies.

Under the academy system, what guarantees are there that there would be sufficient high quality educational provision for all children across the city? From what I can see, absolutely none.

Who will hold the title deeds for the buildings and of the grounds? Are these valuable and vital state assets being passed to the new trust lock, stock and barrel? I understand the council would be unable ever to get them back into public ownership.

What will happen to the proceeds of the buildings or grounds should any of these assets be sold to a private interest at a later date? My fear is that what we are witnessing in the academisation of schools is the stripping of local authority assets to effectively give them away to private interests.

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