Audio report on academies.
Nearly three thousand schools have taken up the government’s offer to become academies – but were they tempted by more than the simple promise of freedom? This documentary explores how financial equations have played their part in the success of the coalition’s flagship schools policy. As academy funding is overhauled, the programme estimates the final cost of a grant which should have meant academies got exactly the same budget after they converted as they did before – and asks why funding equality ended up costing hundreds of millions of pounds.
In a wide-ranging examination of the academies programme, reporter Paul Faulkner also talks to schools and local authorities about the changing education landscape. Are academy freedoms as significant as they are portrayed? And what future for the local authority as its traditional role in education is marginalised? One council leader has a tough message for Whitehall – “Leave us alone!”