Press release

More than 2,600 schools now open as academies, with a further 500 set to join them soon

Information on how many schools in England are currently academies or in the process of becoming academies.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

More than 2,000 heads have opted for converter academy status so they can be free to raise standards for all pupils.

Almost 600 schools are now sponsored academies and getting the support they need to improve.

Figures out today (Friday 11 January 2013) reveal that there are now 3,167 schools in England either open as academies or in the pipeline to become academies.

This includes more than 2,000 converter academies - schools which have decided to take advantage of the benefits and freedoms that come with academy status.

Today’s total also includes 200 of the weakest primary schools which are now sponsored academies and getting the great leadership, support and external challenge they need to improve. The government said last year that it would find outstanding sponsors, with a track record of tackling under-performance, for these schools - and today can announce that it has achieved that aim.

This year the Department for Education will go further and faster, and find sponsors for 400 more of the weakest primary schools so that they too can start providing a first-class education for their pupils.

Failing schools have been specifically targeted by the government for radical improvement. The total number of sponsored academies is now 599 compared to just 203 in May 2010. In 2011, the GCSE results of sponsored academies open for at least two years improved almost twice as fast as those for all state-funded schools.

Academies put power back into the hands of headteachers. Free from local authority control, they can make the changes to their school they know they need to make. That can mean lengthening the school day, benefiting parents and pupils, recruiting new teachers in subjects in which pupils struggle, or introducing new contracts to reward high-achieving staff.

There are:

  • 2,619 open academies - 12% of all schools:
    • more than 2,000 of these are schools which have chosen to convert to take advantage of the freedoms that come with academy status
    • there are 974 open primary academies - 6% of all primaries
    • There are 1,584 open secondary academies - 48% of all secondaries
    • 78 schools (42 primary schools and 36 secondary schools) opened as new academies at the start of this term
  • 3,167 open or pipeline academies - 15% of all schools.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

We believe in trusting the professionals. That’s why we gave teachers the opportunity to take on more freedom and responsibility and they have grabbed it with both hands. Many are now going even further and taking on responsibility for turning around less successful schools. These outstanding converters are becoming the new academy sponsors of the future raising standards across the state sector.

Regional and local authority breakdowns show the areas which have the highest and lowest proportions of academies.

There are 28 local authorities where at least 1 in 5 schools is now an open academy. In almost all local authorities, 129, at least 1 in 5 secondary schools is an open academy. And there are 10 local authorities where at least 1 in 5 primary schools is now an open primary academy.

The local authorities with the highest proportion of open academies are Darlington (66%), North East Lincolnshire (50%), (Swindon 37%), and Thurrock and Torbay (both 36%). In Darlington, Rutland and Bexley, every secondary school is an academy.

Notes to editors

  1. Further information on academies can be found on the academies section of the Department for Education website

  2. At 11 January 2013: Open academies * 2,619 open academies in England, of which:

    • 2,015 are converters
    • 599 primaries and secondaries are sponsored
    • 974 are primary academies
    • 1,584 are secondary academies
    • 59 are special academies
    • 1 is a pupil referral unit
    • 1 is a 16 plus * 78 academies opened this month:
    • 48 converters
    • 30 sponsored
    • 42 are primary schools
    • 36 are secondary schools

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Published 11 January 2013