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Conversion of 400 “failing” primaries

12 September 2012

The Prime Minister has announced another drive to turn failing primary schools into academies. The campaign targets the 400 weakest primary schools in England with the intention that these will be academies by the end of 2013.

In its announcement, the Government reiterated its longstanding message that academies “raise standards”. The new target should also prove helpful to the Government in boosting the number of primary academies as take-up of academy conversion in the primary sector to date has been slow.

The Government’s eagerness to go “further, faster” does raise questions regarding possible legal challenge of such forced academisation. In particular, where schools previously classed as underperforming have since demonstrably improved standards, a decision to push a school into academy status could be viewed as irrational and unreasonable. Readers may recall the recent case of Henley Green Primary School in Coventry where the Government backed down following proposed judicial review of its decision to force academy status upon the school.

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