The headline of the article in the Guardian is a slight variation of my quotation in the article: 'The idea that you simply sprinkle some magic dust from grammars to other schools and the latter will automatically improve is crazy.' Quite simply, sometimes arrangements work and sometimes they do not - mainly depending on the quality of leadership, not the type of school leading a Multi-Academy Trust. Examples from both ends of the spectrum exist in Kent and Medway. Omitted from the final article for reasons of space is a delightful description of my perceived approach present in the draft: 'Peter Read, a Kent-based education consultant who writes a forensically detailed blog on the county’s schools.'
For Kent on Sunday, when I alerted them to an item from the NUT and ATL teachers unions on dire forecasts of the bleak financial future, it may have begun as merely an interesting story to follow up, but their investigation produced plenty of evidence from within Kent to justify the stark warning and turn this into a front page story. The original item was a website, set up by the two Associations which gave a forecast figure for the finances of each individual Kent school over the next four years. Whilst government dismissed the data as 'irresponsible scaremongering based on speculation', the KOS article describes the very real fears of a number of Kent figures, including KCC's Cabinet Member for Education, Roger Gough, who broadly agreed with the Unions' findings. I rarely comment on national issues as these are well covered by commentators but this is a crisis already on us in Kent, as I hear of schools cutting back courses (there have already been major cuts in some grammar school sixth Form offerings), increasing group sizes, refraining from planned developments and in some cases introducing redundancies.