Coventry Council have voted to opposed the forced conversion of Local Authority maintained schools to academies.
Michael Gove is trying to force Primary schools around the country to become academies by claiming that they are ‘underperforming’. Many are being told that they will be forced to become academies.
If this decision was repeated by councils across the country it would be far harder for Gove and the DfE to bully schools into leaving the Local Authority.
Key parts of the council document are below.
Council are requested to:
1. Adopt option 4 and oppose the forced conversion of Local Authority maintained
Schools to Academies.
2. Publish a statement to all Coventry School Governing Bodies and Headteachers
outlining the reasons for the City Council’s concerns about maintained schools
converting to Academy status and re-iterating the benefits of being part of the Local
Authority family of schools.
3. Continue to maintain strong and effective partnership working between the Local
Authority and schools that have converted to Academies and continue to promote
and facilitate structures that enable strong school to school collaboration. This will
support the City Council delivering its statutory responsibilities as an advocate and
champion for all children and young people across the City enable the Local
Authority to strategically plan and manage education provision and deliver the City’s
Educational Improvement Strategy.
4. Oppose the imposed conversion of any under-performing school to an Academy
and propose alternative structures, including formal governance arrangements
through hard and soft federations and stronger school to school collaborations,
including with the City’s Teaching School.
5. Request that the Governing Body of each Academy in Coventry has at least one
Local Authority Governor as part of the Governing Body’s membership and
6. Request that Governing Bodies of Academies formally sign up to the principles of
working in partnership with the Local Authority, including their commitment to the
agreed priorities of the Overcoming Barriers to Learning Strategy.
7. Request that the Assistant Director: Education and Learning or his representative
attend a meeting of every school Governing Body where Academy Conversion is
under discussion. The purpose of this is to present the reasons why the City
Council is not in favour of maintained schools changing their structural
arrangements and to outline the implications for the school and the City, particularly
regarding transfer of assets, finance and access to services. It will also set out any
impact on investment in capital programmes or any co-location proposals.
Option 4: Oppose the forced conversion of LA maintained schools to Academies,
and encourage other maintained schools to remain part of the LA family of schools.
Oppose the establishment of University Technology Colleges and Free Schools in the
2.4.1 Coventry has a diverse school system, with academies, trust schools, faith schools,
single sex schools and LA maintained schools at secondary level. These schools
work collaboratively with the Local Authority and each other, and it is this
collaborative approach that has contributed to improved standards across the city at
2.4.2 Coventry has no primary schools that have changed their status. Primary schools
also work collaboratively with each other and the LA, and there are many examples
of this improving outcomes for children.
2.4.3 Coventry City Council believes this collaborative approach, along with our
Overcoming Barriers to Learning programme, which is the best way to improve
education for all young people within the City.
2.4.4 Coventry will seek to encourage all schools to remain with their current structural
arrangement, as we do not believe that structural changes in themselves will
improve educational outcomes.
2.4.5 Where school governing bodies agree to convert to Academy status, the LA will seek
to continue working with the school in a collaborative way.
2.4.6 Coventry City Council does not believe that there is currently a need for a new
secondary school in the city. The council is concerned that any new free school,
academy, or UTC could be damaging to other schools in the city, and Coventry
City Council will not actively pursue the creation of any free school, academy, or
UTC within the city.
2.4.7 If any free school, Academy or UTC is established in the City, the City Council will
seek to engage with the providers in order to minimise the detrimental effects on
other schools in the city and to encourage collaboration with existing schools and the
LA, and to encourage that school to work in a positive and constructive way with other schools in the city.