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