School academy plans will not go away, warn education experts
17th May 2016
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School leaders have been warned that plans to force all schools to convert to academies will not go away, despite the Government abandoning the programme.

Education specialists at Shropshire-based law firm, Lanyon Bowdler, said schools were still likely to be pushed towards academy status - especially in poor-performing areas, or where there were already lots of academies.

Still a Government priority

Education minister, Nicky Morgan, has announced that plans to force every single school in the country to convert to academies are being dropped, but legal specialists at Lanyon Bowdler said the academy model was still very much a Government priority.

Will Morse, head of education at Lanyon Bowdler, said: “We have worked with numerous schools during their conversion to academy status and in many cases academisation has proved to be a resounding success for all concerned. However, the reality is the academy solution is not the right one for every school. Abandoning plans to force all schools to convert to academies was an unsurprising decision.”


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Will Morse, head of education at Lanyon Bowdler.

Not viable

Will continued: “The reality on the ground for the Government is that many of the southern English constituencies, the support of which they depend on, have numerous small rural schools for which academisation will not be viable.

“It is the threat of a lack of support from amongst its own members of Parliament that has compelled the Government to abandon this attempt at universal academisation.

“It is likely that the Government will turn its attention to a compulsory academisation of schools in the poorer performing local authority education areas, and compel schools in those areas to convert to academies, and where that happens it is likely that the schools will be obliged to join multi-academy arrangements.”

No longer able to support its remaining schools

Will added: “Additionally the Government may now consider compelling schools to convert to academy status where local authorities have so few schools remaining under their control, that the council can ‘no longer support its remaining schools’.

“So for some schools, which did not welcome the idea of being forced to become an academy, this Government U-turn will appear as something of a reprieve, but for some of those schools the Government’s work in this area is not yet done.”

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