Teachers’ unions are to warn that the rapid expansion of academies in England is threatening to undermine the state school system. This week the Department for Education announced that a majority of secondary schools in England are now academies or are in the process of becoming academies.
Privatisation But teachers’ unions have warned that the shift towards academy status will break up the traditional state school system, with claims that it could become a form of back-door privatisation. The NASUWT and the National Union of Teachers conferences will hear calls to reaffirm their opposition to the academies and free schools programme.
A recent survey of academies carried out by the Reform think tank found that relatively few academies were using the greater flexibility they were allowed. There are now 1,641 secondary schools out of 3,261 which are either open as academies or about to become academies.
This rapid expansion means that in six authorities all secondary schools are academies or in the process or becoming an academy. No academy can be run for profit, all are directly state-funded for local children and all are accountable directly to the secretary of state through the formal funding agreement. “Academies are improving faster than other state-funded schools and enjoy freedoms that enable them to innovate and raise standards.”