As of May 2016, out of the UK's 3,381 secondary schools, 2,075 of them have become academies. Initially, the purpose of academies was to help failing schools, however, this has radically changed. Now, any school can take on academy status with even primary schools being invited to adopt the changes. If a school takes on academy status, they become independent, state-funded schools, as opposed to being sponsored by a local authority. According to Micheal Gove, academies are not a ideological, but rather a practical solution to the problems schools are currently facing.

However, there are many glaring problems with academies and our current education system as it stands.

Schools are becoming businesses

Many people seem to be concerned that the push to turn schools into academies is ignoring the needs of individuals, and turning schools into businesses and parents and Students into consumers. Academy status brings schools around 10% more income which, if spent correctly could bring about many educational benefits for students. Despite this, one has to question whether the motive is an educational one or rather just financial. If we consider the changes that have taken place at one of my local secondary school, it seems clear that the individual needs of students have been hugely neglected once they have gained academy status.

One of the reasons for this is the fact that academies have a right to pay staff whatever they please. In many schools, TA's are being made to take serious wages cuts, meaning they simply cannot afford to stay in their chosen careers. These members of staff are not valued for their expertise and this decision is leaving the most vulnerable students with a lack of support.

Individual students needs are being massively neglected, as it seems that schools in general are becoming more about their position on the league tables rather than supporting their students. The amount of pressure that is placed upon students is having a detrimental impact upon their health and well-being. For the students that are not capable of achieving A-C grades, it seems that schools are simply setting Children up to fail and, without the support of trained TA's, they are left neglected and their needs are not respected.

Academies are undemocratic

Despite still being subject to Ofsted inspections, academy status makes these individual needs and concerns far easier for schools to ignore. Any links with local, democratically elected authorities are severed, leaving the power in the hands of the Education Secretary. There is no requirement to consult parents, students or staff, meaning that decisions are being made to benefit schools position on the league tables and to increase profit.

If schools turn into businesses, all students are going to suffer and this needs to be addressed. Every student is an individual and should be treated in such a way. If we continue following a route where students and staff are being neglected, our education system is going to struggle.