The Department for Education’s top official has admitted that it is impossible to prove that forcing schools to become academies offers better value for taxpayers’ money than leaving them with local authorities.
Permanent secretary Jonathan Slater was pressed repeatedly by MPs this morning on the evidence behind his department’s academies policy.
Although the government recently softened its policy on forcing schools to become academies, schools that fail their Ofsted inspections can still be required to convert.
At a Commons Public Accounts Committee meeting today, Labour MP Gareth Snell asked Mr Slater: “Is there any evidence that rescuing under-performing schools via forced academisation provides better value for money than a rescue package for them inside the local authority?”
He added: “We could have a situation where we’re spending vast sums of money to transfer schools over to academy systems without really getting any additional educational output from those schools.”