Michael Gove, Education Secretary, today announced that 142 schools have accepted the Government’s offer to become an academy since the Academies Act became law just over a month ago. These schools have made a commitment to work with other schools and share their expertise. This is the first wave of converters in a rolling process that allows schools to convert at any stage.
The running total of schools that will become academies this academic year is 216 so far. The current breakdown is as follows:
- 142 schools converting to become academies: 32 are opening this week and a further 110 schools have had Academy Orders signed which means they are on track to convert to academies over the coming months.
- Of the 142, there are 7 primary schools which become the first ever primary academies to open. The Government has said that special schools will also be allowed to become academies from next year.
- 64 new academies replace failing schools this September plus a further 10 opening by April 2011.
This is record progress; it took five years for 15 city technology colleges to open, and four years for the first 27 academies to open.
Michael Gove said:
This Government believes that teachers and headteachers, not politicians and bureaucrats, should control schools and have more power over how they are run. That’s why we are spreading academy freedoms. This will give heads more power to tackle disruptive children, to protect and reward teachers better, and to give children the specialist teaching they need.
This year’s GCSE results saw academy pupils improving at nearly three times the historic rate of state school improvement.
Heads of new academies today welcomed their new freedoms:
Patricia Sowter, Head of Cuckoo Hall Primary School, Edmonton, said:
With the new academy freedoms we will continue to develop our autonomy and take the school forward in what is an area of London that faces significant challenges and disadvantage. We will now have the flexibility to adapt and extend the curriculum, target resources more effectively, deploy specialist staff and above all build sustainable capacity to ensure continued and long term outstanding educational provision, to best meet the needs of our children and wider school community.
Cuckoo Hall remains committed to supporting and working with other schools to improve children’s achievement. As an academy, Cuckoo Hall aims to build long term sustainable capacity to continue its effective work with other schools, and will seek to widen its impact on overall school improvement.
Greg Martin, Executive Head of Durand Academy, Lambeth, said:
Becoming an academy is so important for us at Durand. We are proud to deliver an outstanding education for our pupils, in an area with one of the highest levels of social deprivation in the UK. The freedom that academy status brings will allow us to deliver and develop a flexible curriculum to ensure that these children reach their full potential and achieve the very best. We look forward to using our academy freedoms to work with other schools to raise levels of attainment across the board.
David Hampson, Principal of Tollbar Business and Enterprise College, Grimbsy, said:
The benefits of becoming an academy will be enormous - less bureaucracy certainly but also more resources which we ourselves will be able to manage. We are very happy to embrace the requirement to associate ourselves with less successful schools and indeed we already have been working with a number of other schools locally and nationally, sharing our winning ways. In fact, Tollbar, as Tollbar Edge, are the sponsors of another academy which replaces a local school in special measures. We believe that we have already demonstrated our ability to run a highly successful establishment and this fantastic initiative will certainly help us to offer even more to the young people in our care.
Dr John Marincowitz Head of the Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, said:
We are delighted with our new status as an academy. Greater autonomy brings significant beneficial opportunities. For example, greater freedom to decide the curriculum will enable Queen Elizabeth’s to secure a suitably academic curriculum that is geared more accurately to the needs of our pupils. Similarly, greater autonomy means we can now ensure that the resources and services we purchase are appropriate for the school and more closely aligned to the specific requirements of our pupils. We also look forward to bolstering the support we already provide to local schools as a specialist Training School and especially Northgate Hospital School with whom we have an established relationship.
Helen Hyde, Head of Watford Grammar School for Girls, Hertfordshire, and President of Foundation, Aided Schools and Academies National Association (FASNA), said:
I am very excited by the new challenges and opportunities that are created by becoming an academy. We will use the freedoms and autonomy to improve the educational provision for our students as well as form new partnerships with schools who would like to work with us both in the UK and abroad.
Notes to editors
1. A full list of all schools becoming academies for this September term is available to download as either a pdf or excel file. A list of applications for academy status, and Academy Orders is also available to download as either a pdf or excel file.
2. The list below gives the number of academies opening each year under the previous Government:
* 3 opened in 2002
* 9 opened in 2003
* 5 opened in 2004
* 10 opened in 2005
* 19 opened in 2006
* 37 opened in 2007
* 47 opened in 2008
* 70 opened in 2009
* 3 opened in January 2010