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15th January 2016

How the government forces schools to become academies

Where are we in terms of the government's drive to force all schools to become Academies?

The new regulations state the secretary of State MUST issue an academy order where a school is inadequate or requires significant improvement.
They also require local authorities and school governors to co-operate with and facilitate academy conversion.
There will no longer be any requirement to consult staff or parents on conversion.
Governing bodies must co-operate with any sponsor proposed by the DfE.
Any carry forward held by a school converting stays with the school. Any deficit falls to the Local Authority. So it is beneficial for schools to run up a deficit prior to conversion.
500 schools currently defined as Inadequate or Requiring Improvement will be issued with Academy Orders as soon as the Bill becomes law.
Coasting schools - very vaguely defined - can also be required to convert having been categorised as Eligible for Intervention.
The DfE is no longer interested in individual school converters. It wants Multi Academy Trusts. Individual schools can convert and become an 'empty' MAT.
There is a national shortage of suitable sponsor academy chains.
Academies are being encouraged to group together.
Academies can commence recruiting new staff on new terms and conditions from day 1. For existing staff TUPE applies.
There are legal issues relating to ownership of property / assets in both BSF and PFI schools.
Schools can opt out of Academy status on giving 7 years notice. They then would become Foundation Schools.
The DfE has the power to remove a school from a MAT on the grounds that the school's progress or performance is not acceptable. It can then designate a sponsor or allocate the school to a different MAT.

See Peter Flack's article, 'This government is in a spin over academies', in the Leicester Mercury, January 6th 2016

 

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