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Academy numbers reach tipping point

11 April 2012

Less than two years since the government announced its ambitious academies programme, just over half of all secondary schools have chosen to convert to academy status. Reasons for converting include perceived greater autonomy and budgetary control, freedom to change the curriculum and to set their own admissions criteria.

The academies programme has had one very clear impact – academies opting to go to the market to secure support services, severing most if not all ties with the local authority. Academies have the freedom to do this and can, particularly when operating in a group structure, procure high quality services by driving competition between providers. But where does this leave LA maintained schools?

The Government wants all schools to become academies and as more convert, LA’s lose funding and are unlikely to continue providing certain services - a major concern for the dwindling maintained sector. Their choices? The government offers one path – convert to academy status and enjoy the perceived freedoms and autonomy on offer.

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