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Pressure forces Tory U-turn on academies plan

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Following a community campaign involving parents, teachers, school governors, trade unions, and Islington Labour, in support of a national outcry against the government’s plans to force all schools to become academies, the government has been forced into a partial U-turn.

In the Budget the Tory Government announced plans to force all schools to become academies, regardless of parents’ wishes or the performance of the school. Further details announced in a government White Paper – Educational Excellence Everywhere – included no longer requiring schools to have parent governors.

In response to this attack on Islington’s schools, the vast majority of which are rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted - including all secondary schools - Islington Labour launched a campaign ‘Our Schools, Our Say’.

A local petition launched online received over 300 signatures, in addition to national campaigns from parents, teachers, trade unions, and others.

On Friday 6th May, the government announced that some schools would no longer be forced to become academies, but schools falling into two major areas would still be forced to convert to academy status. The two areas were -

  • Where a local authority can no longer viably support its remaining schools because too many schools have already become academies.
  • Where the local education authority consistently fails to meet a minimum performance threshold across its schools.

Further details will be published by the Department for Education and consulted upon, the government said.

Commenting on the government’s announcement, Cllr Joe Caluori (pictured), Executive Member for Children and Families, said:

“It’s astonishing how much of a mess the government has made of its attempts to force all schools to become academies.

“I want to thank all those people in Islington who have supported our campaign so far, but we need to redouble our efforts as the government is still hell-bent on making all schools become academies.

“In Islington we have improved standards and turned schools around by working together. Ofsted figures also show that poor performing schools are more likely to improve if they stay with their local authority, rather than being forced to become an academy.”

Sign the petition here.

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