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Chancellor Announces Mandatory Academy Conversions In Budget

View profile for Craig Malarkey
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Amongst all the talk of capital gains tax being cut, cabinet ministers resigning and the sugar tax, the government made another announcement last week that has been met with divided opinion.

It was announced that the government proposes to introduce legislation to turn every school in England into an academy by 2020. 

When leaked on Tuesday evening the suggestion was met with out spoken anger from unions and some commentators. In truth this should not come as a huge shock. It had been hinted at by both David Cameron and other senior government advisers in recent months, and is ultimately a policy supported by this current government, the coalition government before it, and (although perhaps the political landscape (and leadership) has since changed) the Labour party, who have in the past supported academies. The general move towards full academy conversion has been something we have all been anticipating.

Locally within the North East and particularly the Tees Valley, recent discussions with local authorities and the regional school commissioners have suggested that this was the preference of the Department for Education and this has now been formally confirmed.

But what will it mean for schools?

It means that, if successful, all schools would be removed from the control of local authorities and instead placed under the control of independent academies. There are already a significant number of converted academies in England, particularly secondary schools. But now all schools will need to consider the best way to manage the conversion and whether this should be done as part of an existing multi academy trust, a new multi academy trust or otherwise.

Head teachers and governors need to ensure that they explore all of the available options and fully prepare themselves for this process. Preparation is key.

Speaking to a number of head teachers who have considered conversion or have already gone through this, being in control of these decisions rather than being forced down a path is a significant drive to get out ahead of the push.

Most importantly, protecting the standards of education and welfare of the pupils is a must.

At Tilly Bailey & Irvine, having worked closely with a number of schools in the local area and the relevant local authorities and Department for Education, we are well placed to assist your school to take the next step needed in converting.  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.

If you require any further information on this matter please do not hesitate to contact us.

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