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Mike Wood: Is it the shadow Minister’s party’s policy to retain existing academies? We are a little confused as to where it currently stands on the issue of the academy system.
Nicholas Dakin (Shadow Minister (Education))
There is absolutely no confusion. We are just arguing that, whatever title there is above the door to the school—academy, free school, maintained school, university technical college or whatever—the same rules should apply, and all those rules should recognise the importance and the role of parents.
Labour believes that all schools should be treated equally. There should not be preferential treatment of schools that are academies compared with maintained schools when either are failing or coasting. Academies that are failing should have no more rights than maintained schools that are failing. There should be a level playing field for children, parents and communities, whatever the structure of the school. Labour believes that a partnership with parents is key to a strong education system, which is why we continue to argue that when their child’s school is to academise or the academy’s sponsor is to be changed, parents should be consulted.