Should more schools become academies? Your chance to let the government know what you think

The Education and Adoption Bill is currently passing through Parliament and it means that more schools will become academies. 

The Public Bill Committee wants to hear your thoughts. Head to the comments to have your say, influence the work of Parliament, and hold the government to account. The written evidence will be circulated to all Committee Members to inform their consideration of the Bill.

What’s in the bill?

All schools in England and Wales that have been deemed ‘inadequate’ by OFSTED inspectors will have to become academies. That means that up to 1,000 schools will become academies over the next five years. The government thinks that turning failing schools into academies will raise standards, however the cross-party Education Select Committee say that there is no evidence to support this.

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The Bill broadens the definition of schools that are “eligible for intervention”, making it easier for the Department of Education to force schools to become academies. If schools fail to get 60% of pupils to achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths then they will be labelled as ‘coasting’ and could be turned into academies. Primary schools will be ‘coasting’ if they don’t get 85% of pupils to achieve the expected standard in their national curriculum tests.

Currently, when a school is converted into an academy the governors must hold a consultation. Normally that means getting feedback on the plans from students, teachers, parents and the local community. If the new bill passes there will be no requirement for consultation when a failing school is transformed into an academy.

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What are academies?

Academies are schools answerable only to central government (the Department for Education) rather than local authorities. They have more independence over what they teach, they are free to pay their staff bonuses, and headteachers at academies can earn up to £30,000 more than at other schools. 

Academies are arguably subject to less bureaucracy and have more freedom over their budgets and they can change the length of the school term and day.

Academies are part-funded by “sponsors” who have a say in how a school is run. Sponsors can be individual people, charities, trusts or private companies. Academies are not allowed to be run for profit.

Over half of secondary schools are academies unlike primary schools where the figure is under 20%.

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Adoption

The Bill will also change the way adoptions are handled in England. Currently, adoptions are organised by local authorities. The Bill will allow local authorities to hand their adoption powers over to regional adoption agencies that will cover larger areas of the country.

What do you think about the changes to education and adoption? Has your school has been turned into an academy already? How do you want to see schools run in the future? Leave your thoughts below and they will be submitted to The Public Bill Committee.