In the spring budget announced by the Chancellor today, it has been confirmed that all schools in the country are to become academies by 2020 or have official plans to do so by 2022.

The plan comes as George Osborne also announced that he wants the school day to be extended to 4.30 pm.

As it stands currently, 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools are academies, while 2,440 of 16,766 primary schools have academy status.

Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne

Mr Osborne told MPs that “providing schooling is the single most important thing we can do to help children from a disadvantaged background to succeed.”

Becoming an academy is supposed to give schools freedom when it comes to their budgets, the curriculum and teacher pay. However, this so-called ‘freedom’ is not what it appears to be.

In realistic terms, academies are taken over by corporate companies – forget the ‘charitable trust’ nonesense they brand themselves with – who can choose to either pay the hard-working staff more money or themselves. Many of them choose the latter.

Labour MP for Blaydon Dave Anderson

Labour MP for Blaydon Dave Anderson

Here at b**p, we spoke with Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, about the Chancellor’s move. He had this to say: “This is not about education; it’s about taking powers away from local authorities with the long term object of eliminating them as ‘unnecessary'”.

Despite the fact that academy status was brought in under Labour for struggling schools, it has now been rolled out across the whole country in a bid to sell off the public sector.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about Mr Osborne’s initiative is that there is no proof that academy schools are actually better than mainstream, state schools. In fact, in a letter to education secretary Nicky Morgan, the Chief Inspector of schools regulator Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said: “Many of the trusts manifested the same weaknesses as the worst performing local authorities and offered the same excuses. Indeed, one chief executive blamed parents for pupils’ poor attendance affecting pupils’ performance.”

From a student’s perspective, the Chancellor’s move is quite the opposite of reassuring. If this government really cared about education, they would be doing more than just selling it off to companies with the means to simply make as much profit as possible.