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Government reverses decision to force schools to become academies

The BBC reported on this announcement and added some analysis by their education reported, Hannah Richardson, to view the BBC report click the link:

  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-36227570

The decision was included in a recent DfE announcement on the “Next steps to spread educational excellence everywhere“:

Since launching our proposals in the education white paper, the government has listened to feedback from MPs, teachers, school leaders and parents.

It is clear from those conversations that the impact academies have in transforming young people’s life chances is widely accepted and that more and more schools are keen to embrace academy status.

As a result of these conversations, the government has decided, while reaffirming our continued determination to see all schools to become academies in the next 6 years, that it is not necessary to bring legislation to bring about blanket conversion of all schools to achieve this goal.

The government will continue to require underperforming schools to convert to academy status where they can benefit from the support of a strong sponsor. One hundred and four directive academy orders have already been issued to underperforming schools in the last month since the new legislation came into force.

We will also continue to support ‘good’ schools to convert and to take the lead in supporting other schools as part of multi-academy trusts. In the last monthly figures 227 schools put in applications to convert, the highest monthly figure since the programme began, and we expect this rate to increase.

In addition, the government will bring forward legislation which will trigger conversion of all schools within a local authority in 2 specific circumstances:

  • firstly, where it is clear that the local authority can no longer viably support its remaining schools because a critical mass of schools in that area has converted. Under this mechanism a local authority will also be able to request the Department for Education converts all of its remaining schools
  • secondly, where the local authority consistently fails to meet a minimum performance threshold across its schools, demonstrating an inability to bring about meaningful school improvement

These measures will target those schools where the need to move to academy status is most pressing. For other high-performing schools in strong local authorities the choice of whether to convert will remain the decision of the individual schools and governing bodies in question.

Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, was quoted as saying:

Making every school an academy is the best way to ensure every child, regardless of birth or background, has access to a world-class education.

I am today reaffirming our determination to see all schools to become academies. However, having listened to the feedback from Parliamentary colleagues and the education sector we will now change the path to reaching that goal.

By focusing our efforts on those schools most at risk of failing young people, and encouraging ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools to seize the opportunities of conversion, we will ensure the continued growth of the academy programme, empowering frontline heads and school leads, and transforming even more children’s education.