Academies are not ‘magic silver bullet’ says head

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THE chairman of Portsmouth’s primary schools has criticised education secretary Michael Gove’s plans to turn the country’s 200 worst primaries into academies.

Simon Cattermole, who also is headteacher of Stamshaw Juniors, admitted action was necessary for schools whose pupils were not making good progress – but said academies were not a ‘magic silver bullet’.

In Portsmouth, Paulsgrove and Highbury primaries have been placed in special measures, which is the worst possible Ofsted category.

But Mr Cattermole said he did not believe they were in any immediate danger, as Mr Gove is targeting schools that have been underperforming for up to four years.

He said: ‘I do not believe our schools in special measures have had a sustained period of underperformance.

‘However I can’t see how turning schools into academies is that magic silver bullet that will suddenly make everything okay.

‘If you want to improve a school you invest in teacher training and new technology, explore innovative ways of teaching and learning, get pupils involved in planning and work with other schools.’