Dear Ms Hodge
We are writing to you about our concern regarding the introduction of continuous ill thought-out changes which have unforeseen repercussions in many schools.

We are very unhappy about the increasing fragmentation and competition within the state school system that far from raising standards in all schools will increase disparities, for example by back-door selection.

We believe that the principles of state education have been and are being undermined by the introduction of business principles into schools and we ask that all schools in receipt of state funding should be expressly prohibited from making and distributing profit

We consider that there is now sufficient evidence in areas that have academies and free schools alongside Local Authority schools for a Review to consider the financial, educational and social effects of these changes over a whole Local Authority area rather than just looking at individual schools.

Please will you investigate this matter.

Why is this important?

We believe that the actions of the current Government to implement very significant changes to the funding of schools by undermining and cutting out Local Authorities are leading to a centralisation of power, an undermining of democratic accountability and will greatly increase the costs of running schools through the lack of economies of scale and the pool of expertise which these Authorities provided. Far from being 'free' from Local Authority control schools are, in reality, in danger of losing Local Authority support - their expertise in finances, HR, legal issues, etc represents support delivered in a cost effective way and timely way.

We deplore the Governments ideological approach to the question of education and its attitude towards professionals within the educational field. Above all we denounce the failure of the Secretary of State to listen to the opinions of senior educators, Trade Unions and parents.

The Secretary of State for Education fails at every count to listen to others and we deplore the vision he has for education as outdated, undesirable and unworkable. His arrogant attitude has led to the tearing up of a Primary Curriculum agreed by the teaching professions, Government, Locals Authorities and parents and the proposal of a new secondary national curriculum opposed by his own advisers which then had to be completely revised. Furthermore changes mean that some 'state' schools now require a uniform costing over £200 and his proposals regarding free school meals will prejudice some small schools.

These concerns are echoed by expert opinions such as those which follow below:

The freedoms he claims are available only to free schools actually apply to state schools. But since he hardly ever visits ‘bog standard’ schools, he wouldn’t know that many of them buzz with innovation. The one freedom available to free schools, which no sane school leader would want, is the right to employ unqualified teachers ………It’s time Mr Gove came clean about his real agenda. One he does know is that free schools are ripe for takeover by global businesses seeking to make a profit from education.” (Dr Mary Bousted General Secretary, Assoc. of Teachers and Lecturers)

“Gove wants us to believe that he is driven by a desire to get more children “to succeed academically.” I have never met a teacher who did not want children to succeed academically, but teachers know that there is a lot more to education than narrow academic success. The secretary of state has ridden roughshod over the views of parents, the concerns of teachers and the advice of academics.” (Brian Boyd. Emeritus Prof. Of Education)

“If free schools are doing well (except for some!) because they are free from local authority control and can decide things for themselves, does that mean that Gove will now introduce a bill bringing the national curriculum to an end, instead of extending it, as he currently proposes, even including pressure on how to teach phonics ? The National Curriculum does not have to be taught in free schools or academies, anyway, so why impose it on local authority schools?” (Prof. Norman Thomas, St Albans)