Last year I was sacked from my job 40 minutes after raising a child safeguarding concern: that 11 year olds viewing an 18-rated graphic video of people jumping to their deaths during the 9/11 attacks could have a negative impact on children’s mental health. Research suggests that minors are the group most at risk of committing suicide and viewing suicide in the media increases the risk of copy-cat suicide. Although my case is currently the subject of an Employment Tribunal, events surrounding my dismissal will be examined, and thus, the broader issues surrounding how Academies conduct themselves will still remain.
In 2014, The Department for Education and Ofsted investigated the academy giant E-ACT (who dismissed me), and stripped them of 10 schools. Despite this, when I voiced my concerns to Ofsted at the time of my dismissal in 2015, they told me that there were ‘no wider concerns’ and the DfE said that this was a ‘local issue’. In my response to the DfE, I argued that my dismissal cannot be a ‘local issue’, as academies are no longer regulated by local educational authorities (LEA’s) but rather, report directly to the DfE, which makes them ultimately liable. Key stakeholders of the Education sector have failed to recognise the severity of the concerns I raised.
There is a lack of regulation with Academies that is endorsed by the Academies Bill. My exposure to E-ACT’s behaviours through the litigation process over the past 15 months, has been shocking and further alarms me, as over 2 million children now study at Academies.
We need to ensure that the education and safeguarding of each child is prioritised. Every Child Matters.
It is therefore in the public’s interest that the Government takes action, stamps out discrimination from Academies and makes them publicly accountable.
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