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Academy Backtrack Or Back On Track?

View profile for Craig Malarkey
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In March this year the government announced that it proposed to introduce legislation to turn every school in England into an academy by 2022.

Amidst threats of industrial action by head teachers, Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, this week declared that the plans were being abandoned.

It is worth noting that this isn’t a complete abandonment of the policy. The main opposition from Conservative rebels was that the policy applied to all schools, including highly performing ones. The government said its policy of compelling academy conversions will remain in two areas:


  1. Where it is clear that the local authority can no longer viably support its remaining schools because too many schools have already become academies.


  1. Where the local education authority consistently fails to meet a minimum performance threshold across its schools.

Further, all schools can choose to convert to academy status but those deemed to be struggling or failing to improve sufficiently can be forced to convert. That will remain the case under these new plans.


Whilst academies are clearly a divisive topic it may not be fair to write them off just yet.


I am not here to say whether conversion is “right or wrong” and clearly they may not be right for all schools or wanted by all head teachers but it would seem they are here to stay and should be considered in a reasoned and comprehensive fashion by head teachers and governors before being ruled out, especially as there are still circumstances where the decision could be taken out of your hands.

Having worked closely with a number of academy trusts and schools which have converted, the feedback from head teachers, staff, pupils and parents has been overwhelmingly positive and, in the right circumstances and with the right leadership team, the academy conversion can be a wonderful opportunity for the school and the pupils.

So, it seems we are back to where we started (with a few tweaks along the way). In the right circumstances and with the right reasons and support behind it an academy can thrive and offer an excellent opportunity for its pupils to learn and grown and for its teachers to teach. Just as a local authority controlled school can.


If you would like to discuss whether conversion would be right for your school, please get in touch. We are more than happy to meet with head teachers, chair of governors or indeed the full governing body to discussed proposals, implications, risks and opportunities which a conversion may generate.

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