School improvement held back by the ‘academy solution’

Ofsted inspectors are raising concerns that forcing schools to become academies is actually undermining their efforts to improve.

Inspectors working for Ofsted have raised concerns that the forced academisation process is holding back the improvement of primary schools by distracting headteachers and governing bodies. In two monitoring reports written recently, the judgment has been that headteachers have been swept up in meetings with Department for Education academy brokers, or staff and parents, that are getting in the way of their job.

In a report on Leyland Methodist junior school, near Preston, schools inspector Allan Torr says that a “significant barrier to improvement has been the amount of time [in which] the headteacher has been involved in the discussions about transferring to an academy.” He goes on: “Her time has been too stretched. Lengthy and time-consuming meetings with parents, unions, staff and external agencies have taken leaders’ and governors’ focus away from school improvement.”

And in a report on Woodhouse primary school in Quinton, Birmingham, inspector Jacqueline Wordsworth wrote: “The process of converting to an academy has placed a high demand on the energies of governors, the headteacher and other senior leaders and it has distracted them from focusing on improving the quality of teaching and learning.”

For Rhonda Evan’s full Guardian story click

Rhonda Evans is the film maker who made Academies and Lies, the film on the Downhills forced academisation

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