Government U-turn on forced academisation

Letter to Labour Councillors,

Following the efforts of Labour councillors, the front bench, teachers, parents, trade unions, school governors, and many others, the Government last week announced a U-turn on enforced academisiation.

We want to say thank you for the work you have done to raise awareness of this attack on state-schools and for defending the tremendous contribution good local authorities make to improving education in our communities.

But we must not sit back and think the job is done.

The Secretary of State made clear in her statement yesterday that the government is still hell-bent on making all schools become academies.

Plans also remain for parent governors to be removed from governing bodies by 2022.

In two areas the government said it would push forward with forcing academy conversions -

  • Where a local authority can no longer viably support its remaining schools because too many schools have already become academies.
  • Where the local education authority consistently fails to meet a minimum performance threshold across its schools.

In both of those cases the thresholds are open to interpretation, and we must make sure that this is not used as a way to force conversions by stealth.

The Secretary of State committed to consulting on the definition of the thresholds, and we will be in touch with more information about this in due course, including suggested responses we will need you to submit.

By working in partnership with schools and communities, local councils are able to help improve standards and ensure that schools serve the needs of local communities.

We've made the government backtrack, and now we need to push on to keep defending our local schools.

Best wishes,

Cllr Nick Forbes – Leader of LGA Labour Group, Leader of Newcastle City Council

Cllr Richard Watts – Vice-Chair of the LGA Children & Young People Board, Leader of Islington Council

13 May 2016