Government figures show that 58 per cent of secondary schools are now academies. It is not clear if the other 42 per cent intend to convert or will be forced. Gove’s original target was 100 per cent by 2015.
He will miss that, but that is no cause for celebration. Secondary education in England is now a patch work of stand-alone academies, academy chains and free schools overlaying the already complex faith, voluntary and community school system.
It is a recipe for social segregation and decline, at least if Sweden’s experience is anything to go by.
As you will see, the alarming failure rate in academies has left the credibility of the programme in tatters, yet it goes on like a zombie risen from the dead.
A very different picture emerges from the primary sector. (We have not seen the data on the Alternative Provision and SEN school conversions). Only one in eight primary schools have converted. Of these, around 500 are so-called ‘failing schools’, although only a handful of these have been forcibly converted, with most being ‘bullied’ into volunteering. Most primary academies are schools that were already outstanding so any claims that academy conversions are raising standards needs to be carefully examined. Likewise, anyone arguing for academy conversions needs to have their motives closely scrutinised.
This briefing aims to support people who want to scrutinise and, hopefully, oppose academy conversions.
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