More than 600 Academies are now open and even more schools offered chance to apply
- Published on Thursday, 07 April 2011 12:36
- Posted by Scott Buckler
162 schools have become Academies this month and a further 473 are in the pipeline. Responding to increasing demand from headteachers the Government is also opening the programme up to even more schools from today(April 7th)
For parents and pupils this means more schools that can focus solely on the priorities of pupils and parents, rather than those of local officials and politicians.
As of today:
- 357 schools have converted into Academies since September 2010;
- 473 more have applied and are waiting to convert;
- 547 secondary schools are now Academies - 16.5 % of all secondary schools;
- half a million pupils now go to Academies.
In total there are now 629 Academies open, compared to 203 in May 2010.
Until now only schools which Ofsted judged Outstanding or Good with Outstanding features have been allowed to apply to convert in their own right. Other schools have had to apply as part of wider chains, working with strong schools.
However, many other mainstream and special schools have said they should be allowed to become stand-alone Academies. Responding to this demand the Government will, from today, consider applications from any school, including special schools, that can make a compelling case for Academy status – looking in particular at:
- exam performance over the last three years;
- comparison with local and national exam performance;
- latest Ofsted reports with a specific focus on ‘capacity to improve’, ‘outcomes’, and ‘leadership and management’;
- for special schools, in addition to the above, other success in supporting the learning of pupils with special educational needs;
- any other matters that the school may rely on in order to demonstrate that it is performing well.
Lord Hill, Minister for Schools, said today:
I am delighted that so many schools have decided to become Academies. As Academies they can decide what is best for their pupils, parents and the local community, free from red-tape and politicians.
By setting good schools free and improving performance in weak schools we will raise standards for all children no matter their background.
Heads of new Academies welcomed their new freedoms:
Liz Cresswell, Head teacher, Brighouse Academy, Calderdale, West Yorkshire, said:
Brighouse High School focuses relentlessly on driving up standards for pupils of all levels of ability. As an Academy we intend to continue with this mission and to take advantage of the freedoms to widen opportunity and support raising achievement even further. The freedom from bureaucracy, especially in terms of budgets, will allow us to target spending on the pupils, on reinforcing high standards of teaching and on maintaining a high quality learning environment.
It is our intention to continue to promote the excellent ethos of our school and to continue to serve the community of Brighouse. Academy freedoms will enable us to achieve our aims even more effectively.