Figures released today show momentum is building for the government’s flagship school reform. The government announced today that:
- there are now 407 academies open in England
- 371 secondary schools are now academies - 11% of all secondary schools in England.
- 204 academies have opened since September 2010 under the Coalition Government, with 46 opening this week alone. Of these, 136 were schools converting to becoming academies that will now use their academy freedoms to support weaker schools. Sixty-eight were weaker schools that had been granted academy status and new sponsors to help them turn round underperformance
- at least one school has converted to become an academy every school day since September
- an additional 254 more schools are in the pipeline having applied to become academies, with more applications coming in every week
- Sixty-four schools applied to become academies in the last week before Christmas alone
- it took 4 years to open the first 27 academies. It took 5 years to open 15 city technology colleges.
In addition, the Department is also working with academy sponsors who have targeted underperforming schools. Plans are advanced to reopen these schools as academies in the coming academic year.
Michael Gove today congratulated the schools becoming academies this term:
I am delighted that more schools are opening as academies this week, and are now free from central and local bureaucratic control.
Schools are taking up our offer to become academies because they recognise the huge benefits of being an academy - more autonomy, more power to teachers, and an opportunity to thrive, free from interference from government.
The Coalition believes that headteachers and teachers - not politicians and bureaucrats - know best how to run schools. That’s why all school now have the opportunity to become academies, with stronger schools supporting weaker ones.
Heads of the new academies today spoke of their excitement as their schools become academies this week.
Mike Crawshaw, Head of Debenham High School, Suffolk, said:
We’ve always worked hard to give our parents what they want - an outstanding school on their doorstep, with excellent teaching and the opportunities for their children to succeed, whatever their talents and interests. But as we’ve improved, expectations of what we do and aspirations for what we can achieve have rightly risen with them.
So that’s why we’ve decided to become an academy now. It will give us more day-to-day control to give families the sort of education they want - a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum; strong and clear discipline; extra academic and pastoral support for children that need it; and thriving music, sport and activities outside class. It is a clear vote of confidence in our staff’s skill and abilities - that we are trusted by government to make the right calls for our pupils.
Paula Humphreys, Head of The Broxbourne School, Hertfordshire, said:
The governing body believes that we have the experience and expertise to use the additional autonomies of academy status to continue the development of the school; to further raise standards; and to be more proactive in responding to the needs of the local community: leading in raising attainment and removing barriers to learning. The additional freedoms open to us as an academy and our commitment to cooperation with other schools and agencies will be important components in the school’s work at the heart of the community.
Martin Watson, Head of Lavington School, Wiltshire, said:
The governors made this decision because we believe the school knows best what is needed to provide an outstanding education to our students. We intend to better tailor our curriculum to best provide for all abilities.
The freedoms around pay and conditions will enable us to reward those staff who take on additional responsibilities not covered in the TLR structure. Being an academy also enables us to continue and even expand our work with other schools for mutual development and improvement.
Gary Longman, Head of The King’s (The Cathedral) School, Peterborough, said:
The governing body of The King’s (The Cathedral) School, Peterborough is delighted that the school acquired academy status on 1 January 2011. As an outstanding school the governors believe that the new status will give them the best opportunity to maintain, and indeed raise, current standards and protect all they cherish about Peterborough’s Cathedral School founded by Henry VIII in 1541.
Although the school will gain a further degree of independence we look towards developing the existing collaborative arrangements with other schools in the locality. We believe that we will be able, in these difficult times, to target resources wisely to the benefit of our pupils. In the short term we hope to provide additional one-to-one support for a number of pupils in mathematics and English, in addition to protecting our existing curriculum and class sizes. This is an exciting phase in the long and rich history of the school.
John Townsley, Head of Morley High School, Leeds, said:
Becoming an academy is of immense importance to Morley High School. We will re-open as The Morley Academy this week and, as a direct consequence of our change of status, we will begin to play an even greater part in transforming the educational experience of thousands of young people.
As an Outstanding school we are being given greater freedom and trust and we intend to use that freedom to maximum effect. Already an organisation with a track record of highly effective intervention in less effective schools, we will now drive forward with an even greater sense of purpose in this area. We remain convinced that so much is to be gained from highly effective schools working in partnership with less effective schools to raise standards of achievement. Becoming an academy provides us with the flexibility and additional resourcing to work on a number of fronts with a range of partners in a manner which will have an enormous impact on so many students. This will include the appointment of new colleagues who will be employed to work both at The Morley Academy and partner schools.
Bob Mitchell, Head of Bodmin College, Cornwall, said:
Academy status will give us the freedom to allocate all resources at our disposal to be directly beneficial to our students. We can offer extended opportunities, not only to students at Bodmin College, but to students across our networks.
The key driver for this decision rests with the belief that becoming an academy will give the College full control of local decision making, hence becoming more effective and efficient in the delivery of a 21st century educational offer for everyone at the College and within the community.
Notes to editors
- Further information on academies that have converted can be found on the academies section of the Department for Education’s website including interviews with headteachers explaining the benefits of attaining academy status: As of 5 January 2011 there were
- 390 applications to become academies (including those that have opened already)
- 248 academy orders had been signed.
- The total number of academies now open is 407. This is made up of
- 203 academies set up by the last government
- 204 academies set up by the Coalition. Of this 204, 68 are sponsored academies, replacing schools that are underperforming, and 136 are schools converting to academy status.
- Lists of all open academies and schools progressing towards conversion are available to download from the academies section of this DfE’s website.