Only 3% of primary schools in England have applied to become academies.The academies programme in England was brought in by the last Labour Government under Tony Blair and has been espoused enthusiastically by the new right wing coalition government. The aim is to make schools independent of local authority control, to free them up for private involvement from companies or charities and to take them out of nationally determined pay and conditions for teachers.  The new government has added to this the new so-called free schools, which do not even have to employ qualified teachers. The idea is very similar to the US charter schools which are often held up as a model of excellence despite numerous studies which show that such schools often do no better and sometimes do worse than normal state or ‘public’ schools even by the limited targets driven standards of the UK and US governments. However the UK Anti Academies Alliance reports that despite massive propaganda, encouragement and coercion, only 3% of primary schools have applied for academy status. The figures are higher among secondary schools causing huge problems not only for local communities who have lost any democratic accountability for these schools but also for teaching unions who are having to represent their members to hundreds of different employers. This is of course part of the intention of the programme. Like primary academies, the free school programme has also been slow to get off the ground with only 8 expected to open in September. Both policies have met with determined resistance from parents and teachers. An important weapon in this fight is the excellent website where you can read more about the background to this story and the fight back.