Jamie Hailstone 15 September 2016

LGA welcomes education secretary’s academy comments

Council bosses have welcomed comments by the new education secretary about schools not forced to become academies.

Speaking yesterday in front of the Commons’ education select committee, Justine Greening said parent governors will continue to be part of school governing bodies and indicated the Government will not force all schools to become academies by 2020.

‘I do want to see all schools, over time, become academies but I think our focus has got to be on schools that are struggling and not doing well enough for children at the moment,’ said Ms Greening.

‘Our focus will be on those schools where we feel that standards need to be raised.’

The education secretary added ‘parent governors play a vital role’.

‘When schools turn around it’s when parents become more engaged and more invested in the school’s success, and that helps build the school from the outside as well as the hard work teachers are doing on the inside,’ she said.

The chairman of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, Cllr Richard Watts, said the LGA was ‘pleased that the Government is considering abandoning plans to force good and outstanding academies against their wishes’.

‘Our recent analysis of the grades achieved by all schools under the more rigorous Ofsted inspection framework proved that 81 per cent of council-maintained schools are rated as ‘good' or ‘outstanding', compared to 73 per cent of academies and 79 per cent of free schools,’ said Cllr Watts.

‘It is right that these schools should not be forced down the academy route unless they make that decision themselves.

‘Recent Ofsted figures have also shown that ‘inadequate' council-maintained schools are more likely to improve if they stay with their local authority, rather than being forced to convert to an academy,’ added Cllr Watts.

‘These figures showed that 98 per cent of council-maintained schools improved in their first Ofsted inspection after being rated ‘inadequate' compared to 88 per cent of academies.’

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