Education Secretary Damian Hinds, is calling today for more schools to become academies.
According to Department for Education figures, more than 50 per cent of pupils in state-funded schools are now in a free school or academy.
There are now more than 8,300 academies or free schools in England, which have the freedom to set their own admissions policies and control aspects of the curriculum and school day.
But it’s not all plain sailing for parents. Families struggle with Central Bristol school admissions due to academy admissions criteria, which varies from over subscription church attendance to random allocation, leaving pockets of the city unable to attend their local schools whilst watching children from out of the city come in.
Academy schools also operate systems including education welfare outside the remit of local authorities, which can be problematic for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
‘Handing power back to schools, back to school leaders’ was a ‘strong focus’ in the academy and free school programme, Damien Hinds says. ‘Trusting head teachers and school leaders to run schools,’ is a key aspect.
He says: “In the past, schools that failed were allowed to stay under local authority control for far too long. Academies have changed all that – failing schools can now be taken away from local bureaucracies who have not been able to improve them and given to school leaders who can.
“We have seen many of these sponsored academies dramatically improve their Ofsted results following conversion, and this new research shows the improvements many schools have made since they became an academy.
“As part of our effort to improve school standards across the country, it is important that we are clear that no school will be left to fail their pupils.”
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