Schools rated as “requires improvement” face the prospect of becoming academies, education secretary Nicky Morgan told the BBC this morning.
Previously, if rated as ‘inadequate’, schools could be forced to change leadership and become an academy. The new proposals extend this power to schools rated as ‘requires improvement’.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Ms Morgan said: “We want every child to have the best start in life, obviously that means getting it right form primary, right the way through to secondary.”
However, where schools didn’t have the capacity to improve themselves, Ms Morgan said that changing the headteacher “might be one of the answers”.
She added: “But there are some fantastic head teachers up and down this country who are going and offering support to those schools and those heads. That’s what we see. It is about the collaboration, schools working together to support for the best.”
Meanwhile, on BBC Radio 4 minister for school reform Nick Gibb took issue with an education committee report saying it was too soon to conclude whether academies were helping the education system.
He said: “We do know sponsored academies do improve standards of education in our schools. If you look at the primary sponsored academies, they’ve seen their reading, writing and maths results improve at double the rate seen across all schools.
“Over the last five years there are now a million more children in good and outstanding schools than there were in 2010.”
However, Professor Becky Francis, an adviser to the education select committee queried Mr Gibb’s account.
She said: “The evidence the evidence on whether or not academies have had more success in raising attainment than other equivalent schools is mixed, and hard to pin down.
“Assessment is complicated by the proliferation of different types of academies, and their very different circumstances when they became academies.
“For example, sponsor academies were usually low-attaining schools, often located in areas of disadvantage; for converter academies, it’s the opposite.”
Fellow minister and Lib Dem MP David Laws also criticised the view this morning, stating that a belief all academies were brilliant was “naive and simplistic”.
He told BBC Radio 4: “We have in the department at the moment 600 or 700 ex-academies where we have serious concerns about their performance. That number has doubled over the last year.
“That doesn’t mean many academies aren’t doing a brilliant job, it means we shouldn’t think of academisation as a magic wand solution separate from getting really good people to lead and manage our schools.”