Forced academy conversions down to one a month

The academisation of “inadequate” schools has slowed to just one conversion a month, official figures reveal.

Only three schools launched as academies between October and December following forced conversion, Schools Week analysis shows. It marks the lowest monthly opening rate on record, while September’s 11 conversions were the fewest since 2005.

The slowdown comes despite the Department for Education’s renewed academy drive that began early last year.

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‘Many hold Gove responsible’: education guru sets out what’s wrong with England’s schools

The veteran educationist Sir Tim Brighouse is in an optimistic mood. This may be a period of “doubt and disillusion”, especially as Covid threatens to disrupt another school year, but in his view such times inevitably lead to change. With that in mind, he has just co-authored a sweeping 600-page overview of modern education policy, with suggestions he hopes will contribute to a new direction.

Written with the curriculum expert Mick Waters, About Our Schools divides recent history into two eras: a postwar age of “hope and optimism”, in which teachers were pretty free to do what they liked, followed by a post-Thatcher age of “markets, centralisation and managerialism”, in which the influence of inspections and league tables became all-pervasive and individual ministers could decide how skills such as subtraction should be taught in every classroom in England.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jan/01/sir-tim-brighouse-many-hold-gove-responsible-expert-educator-sets-out-whats-gone-wrong-with-britains-schools

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The big issues set to dominate education in 2022

The focus is likely to be on standards and school improvement, with (hopefully) a more coherent approach to curriculum support and accountability. Perhaps the most important question, though, is how ministers choose to tackle the issues surrounding academisation and structural reform.

Half of all schools and 80 per cent of secondaries are now academies.

Most are in a multi-academy trust (MAT) – the average size of which has slowly grown year on year.

https://www.tes.com/magazine/analysis/general/big-issues-set-dominate-education-2022

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Reminded of the gap: why men still get paid more in UK public sector

In 2018, the first year of compulsory gender pay gap reporting, women working in the public sector earned 86p for every £1 their male counterparts did. In 2021, that dropped to 84p.

The vast majority – 88.7% – of 1,545 public sector organisations reported a median pay gap in favour of men, with 693 paying men at least 20% more than women.

Of the 50 organisations with the widest gaps –private or public sector – 18 were multi-academy trusts, which run academy schools.

The Learning for Life Partnership, which operates five primary schools in Cheshire East, reported a median pay gap of 77.2%, with women earning on average 23p for every £1 their male colleagues did, while the Pele Trust in Northumberland had a median gap of 72.5%. In all, 80 academies had gaps of 50% or more.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/29/reminded-of-the-gap-why-men-still-get-paid-more-in-uk-public-sector

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Academy trusts get £21m in non-repayable bailouts

The government propped up more than 80 academy trusts with bailouts in a single year, including a £2.05 million grant for Academies Enterprise Trust, official documents reveal.

Trusts received a combined £31.28 million in financial lifelines from the Education and Skills Funding Agency in 2019-20, according to the government’s newly published annual report for the academy sector.

In the year to August 2020, 53 trusts, including 11 university technical colleges, received £20.84 million in emergency handouts that will not be repaid. Another £10.44 million was offered in loans. Data has not been published for previous years.

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