Archdiocese ‘ruling by diktat’ as schools told to academise by 2023

An Archdiocese has been accused of “ruling by diktat” after it said all schools must begin joining Catholic multi-academy trusts by September next year.

Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, wrote to governors and heads this summer saying it was an “essential” reform to protect Catholic education.

He asked directly for the “full cooperation” of foundation governors and chairs in reaching the target. The letter, seen by Schools Week, comes five years after the Archdiocese first began promoting conversion and “multi-academy companies”, as some Catholic trusts are known.

The Archdiocese covers a large geographical area that not only includes Birmingham and surrounding areas, but also spans from Stoke to parts of Reading.

Its website says it oversees 240 schools, and a September newsletter said 143 had joined 16 “multi-academy companies”.

But the directive has sparked a backlash, with the NAHT union convening a local meeting of school leader members and governors today to discuss how to resist the plans.

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