Government U-turn over plans to make all schools in England academies

Plans to force all state schools in England to become academies have been abandoned in a government climbdown.

The move comes days after threats of industrial action by head teachers.

Last month, a group of mainly Conservative local authorities’ warned turning all schools into academies could mean ‘poorer education system.’

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In a statement, Morgan said: “I am today reaffirming our determination to see all schools become academies. However, having listened to the feedback from parliamentary colleagues and the education sector, we will now change the path to reaching that goal.”

However, the Government said it bring forward new powers to convert all schools in underperforming or unviable local authorities to be introduced

A package of measures will be introduce to guarantee the continued success of small rural schools.  

Hundreds of small rural schools that currently receive no top-up funding to address the unique pressures they face, will benefit from landmark changes made to school ‘sparsity’ funding.

This means over 1200 small, rural schools will receive specific targeted support. For more than 700 of those schools, their Local Authority currently chooses not to provide the top up, but the new National Funding Formula will provide sparsity funding for every single one.

Alongside the existing statutory presumption against closure of rural schools, the Government will go further introducing a new “double lock” so that when small rural schools convert to academy status, both local and national government have to agree to a school closing before a decision can be made. 

No small successful schools will be forced to join a national academy chain: most small schools will choose to join multi academy trusts made up of other local schools, though small sustainable schools will be able to convert alone if they wish. 

The Government has allocated £300m that will be available to support schools to convert and, in particular, support sponsors to turn around failing schools. 

A further £300m will support strong and effective multi-academy trusts to grow and improve.  And in recognition of the costs that local authorities and church dioceses face, funding will also be provided to them.

This funding comes on top of the Government’s protection to the core schools budget which will be over £40 billion next year, including the pupil premium, funding worth £2.5 billion a year targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils. This is the highest ever level of funding for schools of any government.


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