Academies

Forced academy conversions down to one a month

Slowdown in 'inadequate' schools converting comes despite Department for Education’s renewed academy drive

Slowdown in 'inadequate' schools converting comes despite Department for Education’s renewed academy drive

Exclusive

The academisation of “inadequate” schools has slowed to just one conversion a month, official figures reveal.

Only three schools launched as academies between October and December following forced conversion, Schools Week analysis shows. It marks the lowest monthly opening rate on record, while September’s 11 conversions were the fewest since 2005.

The slowdown comes despite the Department for Education’s renewed academy drive that began early last year.

Experts said the pausing of routine Ofsted inspections when the pandemic hit had shrunk the academy pipeline of poorly rated schools. Those rated “inadequate” are forced to convert, with government officials finding sponsor trusts to offer support.

Ofsted statistics show that only 49 maintained schools had the lowest rating as of September, compared with 151 the previous year.

Only 67 schools were in the DfE “sponsor pipeline” list of approved conversions last month, down from 165 as the first lockdown began in March 2020.

Jeff Marshall, managing director of education advisers J&G Marshall, said the reduced number of conversions was “pretty much down to fewer inspections”.

Ofsted resumed routine inspections last term and said in November it would accelerate inspections of every school. But this week it agreed to “encourage” schools badly hit by the Omicron spread to request deferrals.

Marshall said school clients expected conversion rates to grow again once inspections “resume in earnest”.

Some believe Ofsted’s new inspection framework will “trigger more sponsored conversions in the second part of the year”, and the anticipated white paper will “kickstart a renewed push” to academise.



More from this theme

Academies

Schools bill reforms could require 12,000 more academy trustees

Former government schools tsar warns of 'capacity issue' as ministers seek to move all schools into academy trusts

Tom Belger
Academies

Ark Schools risks losing academy over homophobia, harassment and SEND suspensions

The leading trust's school faced criticism over a 'culture of sanctions', unmonitored missing pupils and unrecorded bullying and prejudice

Tom Belger
Academies

Schools bill: Ministers want veto on academy trustees

New DfE documents reveal more about powers sought by ministers in schools bill

Tom Belger
Academies

National schools commissioner Dominic Herrington to leave role

Departure to Ministry of Justice role comes ahead of shake-up of regional school commissioners group

James Carr
Academies

DfE plans first step in academy revolution

Work to move to all-academies system will begin later this term

Freddie Whittaker
Academies

Council MAT trial next year – but caps on number and size

The DfE will 'test the concept' of local authority multi-academy trusts, inviting councils to join a small trial

Tom Belger

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.