With so many areas catching his attention, structural changes to the education system may, you might think, be on hold. But in reality, all of the areas outlined above will likely fall into the shadow of what is expected to be Zahawi’s major focus: the unfinished business of academisation. While 78 per cent of secondaries are academies or free schools, this only applies to 37 per cent of primaries.
He has previously said there will be no “arbitrary deadline” for academisation and he veers away from saying whether he could live with a mixed economy of academies and maintained schools.
What is clear, though, is that he favours multi-academy trusts (MATs). “The evidence in my view – and we will share this in the White Paper – is that families of schools that are tightly managed and supported have outperformed other ways of organising our school system, and actually have been able to be far more resilient in the face of a global pandemic,” he states.