A DISTRICT councillor for Dursley has penned a letter to Stroud MP Neil Carmichael questioning him on central government’s decision to force all schools into becoming academies.

Doina Cornell, who has two of her own children in Rednock School, expressed concerns that the obligatory transformation to be undertaken by schools would detract from the education of students.

She also joined 124 others in the Stroud district, including SDC leader Geoff Wheeler and Berkeley councillor Liz Ashton, who signed an open letter protesting the policy.

In her own personal letter to Stroud’s MP Mr Carmichael, who is also chairman of the government's education select committee, Cllr Cornell raises her fears that focus on pupils will be lost as school’s make the transition to academies.

She writes: “In the next four years my own children face GCSEs and A levels, their biggest challenge yet. They are both scientists with bright futures – the sort of children I know you speak about championing.

“And I am worried now – because their school, Rednock, is not an academy. It is a comprehensive, community school whose teachers have worked so very hard in the last few years to raise standards and make it one of the top 25 per cent of schools in the country.”

She goes on to pose two questions to the MP, asking whether teachers or governors would be able to continue focusing on the success of their students and if he had consulted with the headteachers within his constituency before the major change was announced.

She concludes: “I had hoped that the next four years would be a time of hard work and stability at school. Now it looks like it will be a time of change and uncertainty. I don’t see how my children’s education will benefit from this.”

In addition to her own letter, Cllr Cornell, fellow councillors and representatives of organisations in the Stroud district joined a national petition of almost 120,000 names calling for a radical rethink of the plans, which were announced by the Chancellor George Osborne in his budget speech last Wednesday.

The government says giving schools more control and independence leads to greater innovation and higher standards.

Conservative MP for Stroud Neil Carmichael was supportive of the announcement. He did not directly respond to Cllr Cornell’s questions when asked by the Gazette but did discuss some of the issues the change will present.

“Some academies are delivering great results for their pupils but in progressing to a fully academised system we must ensure all schools are properly held to account for their performance,” he said.

“Multi-academy Trusts already play a substantial role in our education system and they will be increasingly important as all state schools move to becoming academies.”

Talking specifically about school’s making the move to become academies, he said primary school’s would suffer the worst.

“The drive to change school structures will pose particular issues for primary schools, where only around 15 per cent are currently academies,” he added.

Under the plans, any schools that fail to make the transition will be forced to under radical new powers to be adopted by the government.