At the recent School and Academies Show in Birmingham, Academies Minister Lord Agnew stressed the importance of maintaining standards by supporting teachers and outlined his plan for future collaboration.
He highlighted the improving standards in education including the fact that there are now 163,000 more six-year-olds on track to be fluent readers than in 2012.
He reaffirmed his belief that the freedom academies enjoy, allows teachers to make the right decisions for pupils and their communities.
Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, said:
“We know that when good people are given the power to make their own decisions that’s when things happen. They drive improvements based on what they know works.
While our diverse education system allows for different types of school to thrive, depending on the needs of the communities they serve, we believe that academy status leads to a more dynamic and responsive education system.
This allows schools to make decisions based on local need and the interests of their pupils. It allows high performing schools to consolidate success and spread that excellence across their local area.
Converting to become an academy is a positive choice made by hundreds of schools every year to give great leaders the freedom to focus on what is best for pupils – and as of March 2018 over half a million children are studying in sponsored primary and secondary academies that are now rated good or outstanding. These typically replaced underperforming schools.
Our ambition is ultimately for every school that wants to, to benefit from the autonomy and freedom to innovate that academy status offers and for schools to collaborate through strong MATs”.
He highlighted the following points:
- As of March 2018, more than half a million children now studying in good or outstanding sponsored academies that typically replaced underperforming schools;
- The number of state-funded schools in multi-academy trusts has grown from around 3,200 in 2015 to around 6,700 this year – and receiving 600 applications to covert to an academy in the last academic year; and
- Of the almost 1,400 multi-academy trusts, three quarters (76%) have between 1 to 5 schools, working together to share best practice.
The Department for Education have reinforced their commitment as well to provide more transparency over academy finances. The accounts of 7000 academies have been recently published to allow the public and Parliament to scrutinise the accounts of any academy school. From next April, academies will have to disclose all staff earning over £100,000, declare contracts given to family or friends, and seek approval for all related-party transactions over £20,000.
The DfE also highlighted the success of the Regional Academy Growth Fund, investing £31 million to help academy trusts take on and improve more schools, strengthen leadership, free up teachers to focus their energies in the classroom, and co-ordinate back office tasks across several schools.