Schools white paper

Government to set 2030 target for all schools to become academies

But white paper is likely to kick decision on forced academisation down the road

But white paper is likely to kick decision on forced academisation down the road


The government is expected to set an ambition for all schools to become academies by 2030 in its upcoming white paper, Schools Week has learned.

Nadhim Zahawi previously told leaders he would not set an “arbitrary” deadline, but insiders say the education secretary is keen to see the government’s academies reforms completed within eight years.


However, the white paper won’t go down the route taken by Nicky Morgan in 2016, which proposed forcing all schools to become academies by 2022.

The move was quickly abandoned in the face of widespread criticism.

Ministers are instead drawing up plans to incentivise schools to convert.

Any decision on whether to legislate to force schools that have yet to convert by the turn of the decade is likely to be kicked down the road in favour of a more “natural” move towards an all-academies system.

Around 10,000, (45 per cent) of schools are now academies following extensive growth over the past 11 years.

Ministers hope 4,000 faith schools will convert

Ministers believe that by working with dioceses to convert around 4,000 Christian faith schools, they can raise this figure to around two thirds in the coming years, leaving around 8,000 schools left to transition.

As revealed by Schools Week last month, one option is to allow councils to sponsor “spin-off” multi-academy trusts, in the hope this will encourage schools that want to maintain their link to their council to convert.

Any move towards council-run MATs would require the government to lift a current rule restricting local authorities from taking more than 19 per cent of governor places.

The government has already announced plans to consult on moving schools with successive ‘requires improvement’ ratings into “strong” trusts, though it has since emerged that just 155 schools are likely to be affected.

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