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Are academies cool on freedoms?

12 March 2014

There is lots of commentary as to whether academy freedoms are real or illusory and whether they are used.

Reform’s survey on academy freedoms published this week concludes that two thirds of academies have “yet to use their freedoms over the curriculum, staff terms and conditions or the school day”. One lesser commented on freedom – it is not included in the DfE’s list of freedoms – is that of governance. Maintained schools’ constitutional arrangements are determined by parliament through acts and statutory instruments.

Freedom can be as much about a state of mind as it can be tightly defined changes in approach - governance can play a key role here. Academies are increasingly exploring increased use of these governance freedoms and this is something that should be encouraged and accelerated where possible. Effective use of governance freedoms can provide valuable support to our school leaders and could well be more effective in attracting governors than payment of governors as suggested by some.

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