• It’s a chance to hit the accelerator

    There are the challenges of securing sufficient places, teachers and funding, but with a majority government and an experienced secretary of state, the government has an extraordinary opportunity to push through bold education reforms The election has given David Cameron and his government an enormous boost. Not only have they managed to secure a majority,

    7.30 May. 17th, 2015 | Opinion

  • Key questions for multi-academy trust boards

    About one in five state funded schools in England is now an academy, and more than half of those are governed by one board of trustees in a multi-academy trust (MAT). The number – and proportion – of academies within a formal group is growing as governing boards realise the risks of remaining isolated, particularly

    19.00 Mar. 29th, 2015 | Opinion

  • Land sharing: it’s going to be difficult to resist

    The DfE cannot compel academies to share their land, but changes to funding agreements will make it difficult to resist Amid concerns about the shortage of pupil places at primary schools in England, the Department for Education (DfE) has introduced new provisions into the model funding agreements of academy schools. These are designed to enable

    7.30 Mar. 14th, 2015 | Opinion

  • Who is the right group to monitor schools?

    Having increasingly ‘freed’ schools from local government, it seems they still need to be monitored. But who should do it, and how? It’s now clear that whatever form the next government takes, further expansion of the academies programme is likely to continue. Equally clear is that the frameworks within which these more autonomous schools operate

    7.30 Mar. 8th, 2015 | Opinion

  • We are about to enter purdah

    The looming general election will regulate the conduct of public bodies, including the DfE, local authorities – and schools. You might, for instance, face a four-month wait for a decision on an academy conversion Purdah, a word of Persian origin, means “curtain”. It’s also a word that we hear a lot of every four years

    7.30 Feb. 14th, 2015 | Opinion

  • What are the implications of Tristram Hunt's private school plans?

    Tristram Hunt’s recent speech turned the spotlight on the benefits independent schools receive as a result of their charitable status. His focus was the business rate relief that all charities enjoy: a mandatory 80% reduction with discretion for the local authority to grant up to 100% relief. Mr Hunt asserted that independent schools did not

    14.52 Dec. 20th, 2014 | Opinion

  • How does being a charity affect a school?

    The Education Secretary wants private schools to earn their right be considered a charity. But many state schools are also charities, which provides tax benefits in return for regulatory restrictions Each state-funded academy is formed as an exempt charitable company, which means although it is a charity, it is not registered with the Charity Commission.

    7.30 Nov. 29th, 2014 | Opinion

  • The 13 most critical points in the NAO's Academies and Schools Oversight report

    Today the National Audit Office (NAO) released a document scrutinising the way schools are overseen and intervened on if under-performing. Reading it is illuminating. Academies have been complicated to keep abreast of over the last few years, and it does a good job of explaining who is responsible for what (so far as there actually

    0.01 Oct. 30th, 2014 | Opinion

  • Is a new model of school collaboration emerging?

    Collaboration is a new buzzword in education, but there are many ways it can happen. Expert Alison Talbot describes how one option in particular may be coming to the fore. At the beginning of the school term, a number of exciting collaborations and partnerships coming to fruition, with many free schools, university technical colleges and

    11.46 Oct. 24th, 2014 | Opinion

  • Location, location, location: it really does make a difference

    Becoming an academy can help to raise school performance, but it’s more difficult if you’re on the coast Location really makes a difference to learners’ outcomes. I know: I have spent most of my 25 years in education as a teacher, senior leader, teacher educator and researcher in coastal regions. Only recently has there been

    7.30 Oct. 11th, 2014 | Opinion

  • Federations should not be swept under the MAT

    Multi-academy trusts are on everybody’s lips, but don’t dismiss the federation option In an era of increasing school autonomy and declining local authority capacity, the need for schools to work collaboratively is greater than ever. There are a variety of ways schools can do this, from loose partnerships to more formal arrangements involving shared governance

    7.30 Sep. 28th, 2014 | Opinion