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Angry Stratford parents backlash over proposed Schools Bill

ANGRY Stratford parents have this week staged a backlash protest against the Government’s Schools Bill which they say - if passed - will radically reduce their say over their children’s future education needs.

The bill is now being discussed in the House of Lords after it was published on 12th May but parents in Stratford district have vowed to fight the proposed changes to schooling and education which the Government believes will deliver a more equitable and far-reaching system accessible to all with billions of pounds pledged to back the new system.

Stratford parents voice their anger over proposed Schools Bill. (57679406)
Stratford parents voice their anger over proposed Schools Bill. (57679406)

A Stop The Schools Bill group has been launched in Stratford as part of a national initiative and its already gained over 6,000 of members in two weeks. The group is urging people to write to Stratford-upon-Avon MP, Nadhim Zahawi, who is secretary of state for education to get the bill thrown out.

“The Schools Bill is bad for every family in this country. Unnecessary legislation is being brought in as a distraction from the systemic failures in our education system. Thousands of parents have come together to express their fears over the loss of their children's privacy, data sharing, fines for families with children who are ill, the restrictions on the ability to choose alternatives such as home education and the increasing commercialisation of our schools. We urge every parent to read the bill and write to their MP asking for it to be thrown out,” a spokesperson for Stop the Schools Bill said.

The group says the bill aims to make every school into an Academy and part of a Multi Academy Trust removing the autonomy of the school and the ability of the local school staff to decide what is appropriate for each child regarding absences and education. The policies will rule the school, not teachers who understand the needs and circumstances of every child.

“Home educators are equally appalled by the register of Children Not In School that would be created under this Bill because no other law abiding group of citizens are forced to be on a register under threat of £2,500 fines and prison sentences for noncompliance or even just making an administrative error.

This is what unites this group. Whether parents of school children, home educated children, teachers, charities or organisations we are all just wanting what is best suited to our children.

This bill is worrying in that it places blame and suspicion on parents and crucially undermines the right of parents to choose the education best suited to their child,” the spokesperson added.

The Department for Education issued the following information on its website when the bill was announced last month.

“The new Schools Bill will underpin the government’s ambition for every child to receive a world-class education, no matter where in the country they live.

Through the new Schools Bill, the government will raise education standards across the country via a range of measures including supporting schools to join strong, multi-academy trusts, introducing registers for children not in school and giving Ofsted more powers to crack down on unregistered schools operating illegally.

The Schools Bill provides the legislation required to make this vision a reality. It delivers the primary legislation needed to strengthen the school system, as well as essential measures to keep children safe.”

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