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An Academy school in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
is a state-funded school which is directly funded by the
Department for Education The Department for Education (DFE) is the UK government department responsible for child protection Child protection is the safeguarding of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect. Article 19 of the UN Convention on th ...
and independent of
local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
control. The terms of the arrangements are set out in individual Academy Funding Agreements. Most academies are
secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (ages 11 to 14) and upper secondary educat ...
s (and most secondary schools are academies). However, slightly more than 25% of
primary school A primary school (in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and South Africa), junior school (in Australia), elementary school or grade school (in North America and the Philippines) is a school A school is ...

primary school
s (4,363 as of December 2017), as well, as some of the remaining
first First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill ...
and
middle
middle
schools, are also academies. Academies are self-governing
non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a collective, public or social benefit, in contrast with an entity that o ...
charitable trusts A charitable trust is an irrevocable trust (property), trust established for charity (practice), charitable purposes and, in some jurisdictions, a more specific term than "charitable organization". A charitable trust enjoys a varying degree of tax ...
and may receive additional support from personal or corporate sponsors, either financially or in kind. They do not have to follow the
National Curriculum A national curriculum is a common programme of study in school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countri ...
, but do have to ensure that their curriculum is broad and balanced, and that it includes the core subjects of mathematics and English. They are subject to inspection by
Ofsted The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matte ...
.


Types

The following are all types of academy: * Sponsored academy: A formerly
maintained school English state-funded schools, commonly known as state schools, provide education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal de ...
that has been transformed to academy status as part of a government intervention strategy. They are consequently run by a Government-approved sponsor. They are sometimes referred to as traditional academies. * Converter academy: A formerly
maintained school English state-funded schools, commonly known as state schools, provide education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal de ...
that has ''voluntarily'' converted to academy status. It is not necessary for a converter academy to have a sponsor. * Free school: Free schools are new academies established since 2011 via the Free School Programme. From May 2015, usage of the term was also extended to new academies set up via a Local Authority competition. The majority of free schools are similar in size and shape to other types of academy. However, the following are distinctive sub-types of free school: **
Studio school A studio school is a type of secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary education (ages 11 to 1 ...
: A small free school, usually with around 300 pupils, using project-based learning **
University Technical College A university technical college (UTC) is a type of secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both ...
: A free school for the 14-18 age group, specialising in practical, employment focused subjects, sponsored by a university, employer or
further education college Further education (often abbreviated FE) in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a s ...
. * Faith academy:An academy with an official faith designation. *
Co-operative academy Co-operative schools are characterised by the Cooperative#Coop principles and values, co-operative values and principles which underpin the practice of all co-operative organisations. In England and Wales, around 850 schools currently use co-operati ...
: An academy that uses an alternative
co-operative A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российск ...
academy agreement. An academy trust that operates more than one academy is known as a
multi-academy trust Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) or academy chain is an academy trust that operates more than one Academy (English school), academy school. Academy schools are State-funded schools (England), state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the ...
, although sometimes the terms academy group or academy federation are used instead. An academy chain is a group of trusts working together under a shared management structure.


Features

An academy is governed by the Academy Agreement it makes with the Department for Education, and at that point it severs connections with the local education authority. The current advisory text is the ''Academy and free school: master funding agreement'' dated March 2018. The governors of the academy are obliged to publish an annual report and accounts, that are open to scrutiny. All academies are expected to follow a broad and balanced curriculum but many have a particular focus on, or formal specialism in, one or more areas such as science; arts; business and enterprise; computing; engineering; mathematics; modern foreign languages; performing arts; sport; or technology. Although academies are required to follow the
National Curriculum A national curriculum is a common programme of study in school A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countri ...
in the core subjects of maths, English and science, they are otherwise free to innovate; however, as they participate in the same
Key Stage 3 Key Stage 3 (commonly abbreviated as KS3) is the legal term for the three years of schooling in maintained schools in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders ...
and
GCSE The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies north ...
exams as other English schools, they teach a curriculum very similar to
maintained school English state-funded schools, commonly known as state schools, provide education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal de ...
s, with only small variations. Like other state-funded schools, academies are required to adhere to the National Admissions Code, although newly established academies with a faith designation are subject to the 50% Rule requiring them to allocate at least half of their places without reference to faith. In terms of their governance, academies are established as
companies limited by guarantee In British, Irish and Australian company law, a company limited by guarantee (CLG) is a type of corporation used primarily (but not exclusively) for non-profit organisations that require juristic person, legal personality. A company limited by gua ...
with a Board of Directors that acts as a Trust. The Academy Trust has
exempt charity An exempt charity is an institution established in England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the ...
status, regulated by the Department for Education. The trustees are legally, but not financially, accountable for the operation of the academy. The Trust serves as the legal entity of which the school is part. The trustees oversee the running of the school, sometimes delegating responsibility to a
local governing body An Academy school in Education in England, England is a State-funded schools (England), state-funded school which is directly funded by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control. The terms of the arrangements are ...
which they appoint. The day-to-day management of the school is, as in most schools, conducted by the
Head Teacher A head teacher, head instructor, bureaucrat, headmaster, headmistress, head, chancellor, principal or school director (sometimes another title is used) is the staff member of a school with the greatest responsibility for the management Manage ...
and their senior management team. In Sponsored Academies, the sponsor is able to influence the process of establishing the school, including its curriculum, ethos, specialism and building (if a new one is built). The sponsor also has the power to appoint
governors A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (p ...
to the academy's governing body.


History

The Labour Government under Tony Blair established academies through the
Learning and Skills Act 2000 The Learning and Skills Act 2000 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the ...
, which amended the section of the
Education Act 1996 The Education Act 1996 is Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative ...
relating to
City Technology College In England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the ...
s. They were first announced in a speech by
David Blunkett David Blunkett, Baron Blunkett, (born 6 June 1947) is a British politician, now in the House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern I ...
, then
Secretary of State for Education and Skills The secretary of state for education, also referred to as the education secretary, is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unitit Kinrick , image = HM Go ...
, in 2000. He said that their aim was "to improve pupil performance and break the cycle of low expectations." As of 2018 many academies are struggling financially and running deficits. The chief architect of the policy was
Andrew Adonis Andrew Adonis, Baron Adonis, (born Andreas Adonis; 22 February 1963) is a British Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" ...

Andrew Adonis
(now Lord Adonis, formerly Secretary of State at the
Department for Transport The Department for Transport (DfT) is the government department Ministry or department, also less commonly used secretariat, office, or directorate are designations used by a first-level Executive (government), executive bodies in the Mach ...
) in his capacity as education advisor to the Prime Minister in the late 1990s. Academies were known as City Academies for the first few years, but the term was changed to Academies by an
amendment An amendment is a formal or official change made to a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and i ...
in the
Education Act 2002 The Education Act 2002 (c.32) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Cro ...
. The term Sponsored Academies was applied retroactively to this type of academy, to distinguish it from other types of academy that were enabled later.


Sponsored academies

Sponsored Academies originally needed a ''private'' sponsor who could be an individual (such as
Sir David Garrard Sir David Eardley Garrard (born 12 January 1939) is a retired United Kingdom, British property developer. Early career David Garrard was born Streatham on 12 January 1939, the son of a Stamford Hill upholsterer. He attended Battersea Grammar Schoo ...
, who sponsors Business Academy Bexley), organisations such as the
United Learning Trust United Learning is a group of State-funded schools (England), state-funded schools and fee-paying Independent school (United Kingdom), independent schools operating in England. United Learning is the trading name for United Church Schools Trust (UC ...
, mission-driven businesses such as
The Co-operative Group Co-operative Group Limited, trading as Co-op, is a British consumer cooperative, consumer co-operative with a diverse family of retail businesses including food retail and wholesale; e-pharmacy; insurance services; legal services and funeral ...
or
outsourcing Outsourcing is an agreement in which one company hires another company to be responsible for a planned or existing activity that is or could be done internally, and sometimes involves transferring employees and assets from one firm A compan ...

outsourcing
for-profit businesses such as
Amey plc Amey plc, previously known as Amey Ltd and Amey Roadstone Construction, is a United Kingdom-based infrastructure support service provider. Since 2003, it has been a subsidiary of the Spanish infrastructure services company Ferrovial. Amey was fo ...
). These sponsors were expected to bring "the best of private-sector best practice and innovative management" to academies, "often in marked contrast to the lack of leadership experienced by the failing schools that academies have replaced" (known as predecessor schools). They were originally required to contribute 10% of the academy's capital costs (up to a maximum of £2m). The remainder of the capital and running costs were met by the state in the usual way for UK state schools through grants funded by the local authority. The Government later removed the requirement for financial investment by a private sponsor in a move to encourage successful existing schools and charities to become sponsors. Sponsored Academies typically replaced one or more existing schools, but some were newly established. They were intended to address the problem of entrenched failure within English schools with low academic achievement, or schools situated in communities with low academic aspirations. Often these schools had been placed in "
special measures Special measures is a status applied by regulators of public services in Britain to providers who fall short of acceptable standards. In education (England and Wales) Ofsted, the schools inspection agency for England and some British Overseas Terr ...
" after an Ofsted inspection, as has been the case for schools in the Co-op Academies Trust (one of the larger business-supported trusts). They were expected to be creative and innovative because of their financial and academic freedoms, in order to deal with the long-term issues they were intended to solve. Originally all Sponsored Academies had to have a curriculum specialism within the English Specialist Schools Programme (SSP). However, this requirement was removed in 2010. By May 2010 there were 203 Sponsored Academies in England.


Converter academies

The
Academies Act 2010 The Academies Act 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Delibera ...
sought to increase the number of academies. It enabled all maintained schools to convert to academy status, known as Converter Academies and enabled new academies to be created via the Free School Programme. At the same time the new Conservative-led Coalition Government announced that they would redirect funding for school Specialisms .e. Technology College Statusinto mainstream funding. This meant that Secondary Schools would no longer directly receive ring-fenced funds of c£130K from Government for each of their specialisms. One way to regain some direct control over their finances was to become a Converter Academy and receive all of their funding direct from Government, with the possibility of buying in services at a cheaper rate. This, along with some schools wanting more independence from
local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
control, meant that many state secondary schools in England converted to academy status in subsequent years. By April 2011, the number of academies had increased to 629, and by August 2011, reached 1,070. By July 2012 this number reached 1,957, double that of the previous year. and, at 1 November 2013, it stood at 3,444. There are no academies in Wales or Scotland, where education policy is devolved.


Financial accountability

The
Education Funding Agency The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is an executive agency of the government of the United Kingdom, sponsored by the Department for Education. The ESFA was formed on 1 April 2017 following the merger of the Education Funding Agency an ...
monitors financial management and governance of academies. In March 2016 the Perry Beeches The Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust, was found to have deleted financial records for £2.5 million of free school meal funding, and that the chief executive was being paid by sub-contractors as well as by the trust. Its schools are likely to be taken over by a new trust. In August 2016, the former principal and founder of Kings Science Academy, the former finance director, and a former teacher who was the founder's sister were found guilty of defrauding public funds of £150,000. In October 2017, the
Wakefield City Academies Trust Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was a Academy (English school)#chain, multi-academy trust (MAT) that managed 21 schools (14 primary and 7 secondary) across West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and the East Riding of Yorkshire. As an academy tru ...
collapsed, and ''
The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum A political spectrum is a system to characterize and classify different in relation to one another. These positions sit upon one ...

The Observer
'' reported that "Wakefield City Academies Trust now stands accused of 'asset stripping" after it transferred millions of pounds of the schools' savings to its own accounts before collapsing. On 8 September it released a statement announcing it would divest itself of its 21 schools as it could not undertake the 'rapid improvement our academies need' ".


The converting procedure (2018)

The
governors A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (p ...
of a school are persuaded to consider academy status, perhaps in response to an approach by a multi-academy trust (MAT). They have two choices: remain with their current
local authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
, or join a multi-academy trust; converting to be a stand-alone trust ceased to be an option prior to 2018. If they were only given a 'satisfactory' (now referred to as 'requirimprovement')
Ofsted The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matte ...
rating, they don't have the power to make the decision. The governors assess the MATs available and willing to take them on. Ethos and values, geographical mix of schools and practicality, how individual schools have succeeded in retaining their identity, value for money, and the trust's capacity to support the development of schools and staff are all factors that are compared. The governors then select a partner trust. They then register interest with the DfE and inform the Regional Schools Commission. Governors open consultation with parents and staff, and with this information make a decision as to whether to proceed. Assuming they do, the
Regional Schools Commissioner Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) or academy chain is an academy trust that operates more than one Academy (English school), academy school. Academy schools are State-funded schools (England), state-funded schools in England which are directly funded by the ...
approves the decision to join the selected trust and the Secretary of State issues an academy order. The school staff to are transferred to the MAT in accordance with
TUPE The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 known colloquially as TUPE and pronounced , are the United Kingdom's implementation of the European Union Transfer of Undertakings Directive. It is an important part of UK lab ...
regulations, and land and commercial assets are transferred from the local authority. The school can change its mind until documents are sent to the Secretary of State in order to be signed; this is usually around three weeks before the agreed conversion date. There are legal costs involved, and £25,000 is given to a converting academy to cover these costs. The local authority must grant a 125-year lease to the academy trust for the land. School land and playing fields are protected under Section 77 of the
School Standards and Framework Act 1998 The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 was the major education legislation passed by the incoming Labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or mo ...
. The school pays a proportion of its central funding to the MAT for shared services but can in theory take better measures to ensure best value.


Support

Whilst still in the fairly early stage of development, supporters pointed to emerging data showing "striking" improvements in
GCSE The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is an academic qualification in a particular subject, taken in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies north ...
results for academies compared to their predecessors, with early results showing that "GCSE results are improving twice as fast in academies as in state schools". In an article in ''
The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum A political spectrum is a system to characterize and classify different in relation to one another. These positions sit upon one ...

The Observer
'', that regarded many of the Government's claims for academies with scepticism, journalist
Geraldine Bedell Geraldine Bedell is a British novelist and writer for ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum A political spectrum is a system to characterize and clas ...
conceded that: :They seem, so far, to be working – not all as spectacularly as Mossbourne, but much better than most of the struggling inner-city schools they replaced. The article singles out the cited academy,
Mossbourne Community Academy Mossbourne Community Academy is a Mixed-sex education, coeducational secondary school and sixth form with Academy (English school), academy status, located near Hackney Downs off the A104 road (England), A104 road, in the Lower Clapton area of the ...
in Hackney, as "apparently the most popular choolin Britain – at least with politicians" and "the top school in the country for value-added results".


Criticism and opposition

Academies have continued to be controversial, and their existence has frequently been opposed and challenged by some politicians, commentators,Roy Hattersley, ''The Guardian'', 6 June 2005
"And now, over to our sponsors"
teachers, teachers' unions,Polly Curtis, ''The Guardian'', 1 November 2004

and parents. Even after several years of operation and with a number of academies open and reporting successes, the programme continues to come under attack for creating schools that are said to be, among other things, a waste of money,Rebecca Smithers, ''The Guardian'', 31 August 2004
"Flagship schools attacked over costs"
selective, damaging to the schools and communities around them, forced on parents who do not want them, and a move towards privatisation of education "by the back door".


Opposition within Labour

The introduction of academy schools was opposed, notably by teachers' trade unions and some high-profile members within the Labour Party, such as former party leader Lord Kinnock.
Neil Kinnock Neil Gordon Kinnock, Baron Kinnock (born 28 March 1942) is a Welsh politician. As a member of the Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola ...
criticised the academies scheme saying that they were a "distortion of choice" and risked creating a "seller's market" with "schools selecting parents and children instead of parents selecting schools".

Education Select Committee in 2005

The
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...
Education and Skills Select Committee reported in March 2005 that it would have been wiser to limit the programme to 30 or 50 academies in order to evaluate the results before expanding the programme, and that "the rapid expansion of the Academy policy comes at the expense of rigorous evaluation". The Select Committee was concerned that the promising results achieved by some academies may be due to increased exclusions of harder-to-teach pupils. They noted that two
Middlesbrough Middlesbrough ( ) is a large town in North Yorkshire North Yorkshire is the largest non-metropolitan county and ceremonial counties of England, lieutenancy area in England, covering an area of . Around 40% of the county is covered by Natio ...

Middlesbrough
academies had expelled 61 pupils, compared to just 15 from all other secondary schools in the borough.


Criticism of choice of sponsors

The programme of creating academies has also been heavily criticised by some for handing schools to private sector entrepreneurs who in many cases have no experience of the education sector: such as the Evangelical Christian car dealer, Sir Peter Vardy, who has been accused of promoting the teaching of
creationism Creationism is the religious belief that nature, and aspects such as the universe, Earth, life, and humans, originated with supernatural acts of Creation myth, divine creation.#Gunn 2004, Gunn 2004, p. 9, "The ''Concise Oxford Dictionary'' say ...

creationism
alongside
macroevolution Macroevolution in the modern sense is evolution that is guided by selection among interspecific variation, as opposed to selection among intraspecific variation in microevolution Microevolution is the change in allele frequencies that occurs ...
in his
Emmanuel Schools Foundation The Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) is a charitable trust which has been involved in education since 1989. ESF currently run six schools. The four original members of the ESF are: Emmanuel City Technology College in Gateshead (opened 1990), The ...
academies. This is also linked to the wider debate in the education sector as to the benefits or otherwise of the growing role of religion in the school system being promoted by the New Labour government in general, and Tony Blair in particular, with many academies (one estimate puts it at "more than half") being sponsored either by religious groups or organisations/individuals with a religious affiliation.


Failing academies

There are indications that several city academies are failing. Ofsted has placed the Unity City Academy in
Middlesbrough Middlesbrough ( ) is a large town in North Yorkshire North Yorkshire is the largest non-metropolitan county and ceremonial counties of England, lieutenancy area in England, covering an area of . Around 40% of the county is covered by Natio ...

Middlesbrough
and the
Richard Rose Central Academy Richard Rose Central Academy is a Mixed-sex education, coeducational secondary school and sixth form with Academy (English school), academy status. It is located in Carlisle, Cumbria, Carlisle in the English county of Cumbria. History Grammar sc ...
in
Carlisle Carlisle ( , ; from xcb, Caer Luel; gd, Cathair Luail) is a border Borders are boundaries of or legal s, such as s, , , and other . Borders are established through agreements between political or social entities that control those are ...

Carlisle
under
special measures Special measures is a status applied by regulators of public services in Britain to providers who fall short of acceptable standards. In education (England and Wales) Ofsted, the schools inspection agency for England and some British Overseas Terr ...
, heavily criticised the West London Academy in
Ealing Ealing () is a district in West London West London is the western part of London, England. The area lies north of the River Thames and extends from its historic and commercial core of Westminster and the West End of London, West End to the ...
and condemned standards at the Business Academy in
Bexley Bexley is an area of south-eastern Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England, administrative area governed by the Greater London Authority, and a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial c ...

Bexley
,
South London South London is the informally defined southern part of London, England, south of the River Thames, which broadly consists of the Districts of England, boroughs of London Borough of Bexley, Bexley, London Borough of Bromley, Bromley, London Borou ...

South London
. The Richard Rose Central Academy in
Carlisle Carlisle ( , ; from xcb, Caer Luel; gd, Cathair Luail) is a border Borders are boundaries of or legal s, such as s, , , and other . Borders are established through agreements between political or social entities that control those are ...

Carlisle
, sponsored by Eddie Stobart owner
Andrew Tinkler William Andrew Tinkler (known as Andrew Tinkler) was the Chief Executive Officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executives in charge of managing an organiza ...
, and local businessman Brian Scowcroft opened in September 2008. By January 2009, there were protests by parents and pupils regarding poor quality education and school facilities. The school was found to be failing and was placed in special measures, with the headmaster and chief executive being immediately replaced. A parliamentary report in 2015, entitled "Free Schools and Academies", recommends that "In the meantime the Government should stop exaggerating the success of academies and be cautious about firm conclusions except where the evidence merits it. Academisation is not always successful nor is it the only proven alternative for a struggling school". In 2016 a major study by the
Education Policy Institute The Education Policy Institute (EPI) is an education policy think tank that aims to promote high quality education outcomes through research and analysis. It is based at 150 Buckingham Palace Road, in central London. History It was formed in 201 ...
found no significant differences in performance between Academies and local council run schools, and that multi-academy trusts running at least five schools performed worse than local council run schools.


Expense and diversion of funding

The original City Academy programme was attacked for its expense: it cost on average £25m to build an academy under this scheme, much of which was taken up by the costs of new buildings. Critics contend that this is significantly more than it costs to build a new local authority school. Some operators are paying senior staff six-figure salaries, partly funded by central government. In 2012, the academy scheme was applied to primary schools. The government began transforming some schools that had been graded Satisfactory or lower by
Ofsted The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matte ...
into academies, in some cases removing existing governing bodies and Head Teachers. An example was Downhills Primary School in Haringey, where the Head resisted turning the school into an academy. Ofsted were called in to assess the school, and placed it in
Special Measures Special measures is a status applied by regulators of public services in Britain to providers who fall short of acceptable standards. In education (England and Wales) Ofsted, the schools inspection agency for England and some British Overseas Terr ...
. The head and the Governing Body were removed and replaced with a Government-appointed board. There was opposition from the school and parents. In December 2012, the
Public Accounts Committee Public Accounts Committee (PAC) refers to a committee in the legislature that must study public audits, invite ministers, permanent secretaries or other ministry officials to the committee for questioning, and issue a report of their findings subseq ...
of the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorpor ...

House of Commons
questioned Henry Stewart, of the Local Schools Network, and Rachel Wolf, of the
New Schools Network New Schools Network (NSN) is a United Kingdom-registered charity which aims to support groups setting up Free school (England), free schools within the English state education sector. History The group was set up in 2009 by Rachel Wolf, a form ...
, on accountability and funding of academies and free schools. The Committee was review a report by the Auditor General, ''Managing the Expansion of the Academies Programme'' (HC 682), which had identified that in 2011-12 £96,000,000 had been diverted from supporting under-performing Local Authority schools to the academies programme, followed by a further £400,000,000 in the financial year 2012-13. The Committee also questioned Chris Wormald, then at the
Department for Education The Department for Education (DFE) is the UK government department responsible for child protection Child protection is the safeguarding of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect. Article 19 of the UN Convention on th ...
, who admitted that the Government had deliberately chosen to remove money originally allocated to support under performing schools. Chris Wormald stated, "The Government took a very conscious decision that its major school improvement programme was the academies programme."


Party policies, and developments since the end of the Labour Government

The
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
has supported the academy proposal from its inception but wants the scheme to go further. This accord was reflected in a remark made by Conservative spokesman
David Willetts David Linsay Willetts, Baron Willetts, (born 9 March 1956) is a British politician and life peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Us ...

David Willetts
in 2006: In 2004, the Liberal Democrats were reported as being "split" on the issue and so decided that academies should not be mentioned in the party's education policy. The position of
Phil Willis George Philip Willis, Baron Willis of Knaresborough (born 30 November 1941, Burnley) is a politician in the United Kingdom. He is a Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords, and was Member of Parliament (MP) for Ha ...
, the education spokesman at the time, was summarised as: In 2005, Willis' successor,
Ed Davey Sir Edward Jonathan Davey (born 25 December 1965) is a British politician who has served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2020. He served in the Cameron–Clegg coalition as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change from 2012 to ...
, argued that academies were creating a "two-tier education system" and called for the academy programme to be halted until "a proper analysis can be done". At the subsequent election, Academies were supported by all three main political parties, with a further cross-party initiative to extend the programme into primary schools currently being considered. In 2010 the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats coalition government announced plans to expand the academy programme with the
Academies Act 2010 The Academies Act 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Delibera ...
. In May 2010 the then Education secretary
Michael Gove Michael Andrew Gove (; born Graeme Andrew Logan; 26 August 1967) is a British politician, journalist and author serving as Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations since 2021. ...

Michael Gove
wrote to all state schools in England inviting them to opt out of Local Authority control and convert to Academy status. Gove also stated that some academies could be created in time for the new Academic year in September 2010. By 23 July 2010, 153 schools in England had applied for academy status, lower than the prediction that more than 1,000 would do so. In spite of the expanding Academy programme, in August 2010 Gove announced that 75 existing academy rebuild projects were likely to be scaled back. Nevertheless, by September 2012, the majority of state secondary schools in England had become Academies. Monthly updated information on existing academies and free schools, and applications in process, is published by the Department for Education.


Comparisons

The city academy programme was originally based on the programme of
City Technology College In England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the ...
s (CTCs) created by the
Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of ae ...

Conservative
government under
Margaret Thatcher Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (; 13 October 19258 April 2013), was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either ...

Margaret Thatcher
in the 1980s, which were also business-sponsored. From 2003, the Government encouraged CTCs to convert to academies; did so (for example, Djanogly CTC is now
Djanogly City Academy Djanogly City Academy is a Academy (England), City Academy secondary school in Nottingham, England. It has been open since 2003, when it replaced the oversubscribed Djanogly CTC, a City Technology College,
) was a 2003 conversion. Academies differ from CTCs in several ways; most notably, academies cannot select more than 10% of pupils by ability , whereas CTCs can. Academies have been compared to US
charter school A charter school is a school that receives government funding but operates independently of the established state school School district, system in which it is located. It is independent in the sense that it operates according to the basic Cha ...
s,Rebecca Smithers, ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sun ...

The Guardian
'', 6 July 2005
"Hedge fund charity plans city academies"
which are publicly funded schools largely independent of state and federal control.


s

A number of private and charitable organisations run groups of academies, known as Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). These major operators include ARK Schools,
Academies Enterprise Trust The Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) is a multi-academy trust in England. It is a non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized a ...
, E-ACT (formerly Edutrust Academies Charitable Trust),
Emmanuel Schools Foundation The Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) is a charitable trust which has been involved in education since 1989. ESF currently run six schools. The four original members of the ESF are: Emmanuel City Technology College in Gateshead (opened 1990), The ...
,
Harris Federation Harris Federation is a multi-academy trust of 48 primary and secondary Academy (English school), academies in and around London. They are sponsored by Philip Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham, Philip Harris (Lord Harris of Peckham), educating 36,000 s ...
,
Oasis Trust Oasis Charitable Trust, commonly known as Oasis, is a UK-based Christianity, Christian registered charity. It was founded by the Reverend Steve Chalke in September 1985. Chalke had been assistant minister at Tonbridge Baptist Church, Kent, for f ...
,
Ormiston Academies Trust Ormiston Trust is a charitable trust based in London, England. It is a grant-making trust that chiefly assists schools and organisations supporting children and young people. The trust was established in the memory of Fiona Ormiston Murray who di ...
, Tauheedul Education Trust and
United Learning Trust United Learning is a group of State-funded schools (England), state-funded schools and fee-paying Independent school (United Kingdom), independent schools operating in England. United Learning is the trading name for United Church Schools Trust (UC ...
. The Department for Education publishes a full list of active academy sponsors.


Effectiveness

In September 2017, the
Wakefield City Academies Trust Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was a Academy (English school)#chain, multi-academy trust (MAT) that managed 21 schools (14 primary and 7 secondary) across West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, and the East Riding of Yorkshire. As an academy tru ...
announced it was ceasing operation and preparing to dissolve as it did not have the capacity to manage its 21 schools, and asked the government to make an alternative arrangement. In January 2018, a league table was produced to "name and shame" the worst performers using the
Progress 8 benchmark The Progress 8 benchmark is an accountability measure introduced in 2016 and used by the United Kingdom government to measure the effectiveness of secondary schools in England. It bands pupils into groups based on their scores in English and Mathema ...
, which measures GCSE results after compensating for each pupil's performance at the end of
Key Stage 2 Key Stage 2 is the legal term for the four years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6, when the pupils are aged between 7 and 11 years. England and Wales Legal definition The t ...
. MATs fail in staff remuneration, being exempt from all Teacher Pay and Conditions agreements. In March 2018, the Guardian revealed that they fail in gender equality. In December 2018, the Sutton Trust published a report on the effectiveness of MATs in improving the performance of disadvantaged children, with its authors noting that "Our five-year analysis of sponsor academies' provision for disadvantaged pupils shows that while a few chains are demonstrating transformational results for these pupils, more are struggling."


Concern about MATs taking over primary schools that are then rebrokered

In 2019 there were 5,539 primary academies in England, of which 514 were forced away from local authority control after being failed by
Ofsted The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial department Non-ministerial government departments (NMGDs) are a type of department of the Government of the United Kingdom that deal with matte ...
. The
Department for Education The Department for Education (DFE) is the UK government department responsible for child protection Child protection is the safeguarding of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect. Article 19 of the UN Convention on th ...
(DfE) paid out at least £18.4m to the academy trusts taking on these schools. The parents, governors and local authorities had no say in how this money was spent or how the assets were used. Since 2013–14, more than 300 primary academies have been rebrokered (receiving government setup money again) or moved between trusts. In 2017–8, seven trusts running primary schools closed leaving all their schools in search of another sponsor. This leads to uncertainty and expense as the new trust will rebrand and parents must pay for new school uniform. New rules, staff and systems are set in place. An example of a failed academy is Copperfields Academy in
Northfleet Northfleet is a town in the borough of Gravesham in Kent, England. It is located immediately west of Gravesend, and on the border with the Borough of Dartford. Northfleet has its own railway station on the North Kent Line, just east of Ebbsfl ...

Northfleet
, Gravesend, Kent. The Reach2 Trust, which has 58 schools, took over the failing school against the wishes of school, governors or parents in 2013. They were given a start-up grant, and failed to attract qualified teachers, and their management was described as turbulent when Ofsted inspected them in January 2019. A "minded to terminate" notice was given to the trust, saying that the school would be re-brokered to another sponsor if any other Reach2 school failed. They had already had problems in 2018 with the Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich. A follow-up inspection in June declared that the school was now on course: that "effective action" was being taken, and that both the trust's statement of action and improvement plan were fit for purpose. This is in spite of the school being short of 9 teachers out of the 18 needed, having 2 temporary deputies, and a head teacher seconded from another school.


See also

* Academies Financial Handbook *
State-funded schools (England) English state-funded schools, commonly known as state schools, provide Education in England, education to pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 without charge. Approximately 93% of English schoolchildren attend 20,000 or so such schools. Since 2008 ...
*
Specialist Schools and Academies Trust SSAT (The Schools Network) Limited (branded as SSAT, the Schools, Students and Teachers network) is a UK-based, independent educational membership organisation working with primary, secondary, Specialist schools programme, special and Free scho ...
*
University Technical College A university technical college (UTC) is a type of secondary school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both ...
*
Comprehensive school A comprehensive school is a public school for elementary aged or secondary aged children (aged approximately 11-18) that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement or aptitude, in contrast to the selective school A selecti ...
*
Foundation school In England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the to the east and the to the south. The ...
*
Grant-maintained school Grant-maintained schools or GM schools were state school State schools (in England, Wales, and New Zealand) or public schools (Scottish English and North American English) are generally primary or secondary educational institution, schools th ...
*
Co-operative academy Co-operative schools are characterised by the Cooperative#Coop principles and values, co-operative values and principles which underpin the practice of all co-operative organisations. In England and Wales, around 850 schools currently use co-operati ...


References


External links


Department for Education: Opening an Academy or Free School

SSAT (The Schools Network)
(formerly known as the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust)
Anti Academies Alliance


by a pupil at
Greig City Academy Greig City Academy is a mixed-sex education, mixed-sex secondary school in the London borough of London Borough of Haringey, Haringey. It has around 1,100 pupils on its roll. As well as a busy main school, the Academy includes a thriving Sixth ...

Greig City Academy
, 12 October 2006. *
Do academy schools really work?
, Lisa Freedman, ''Prospect magazine'', 24 February 2010. * * * *
Pearson Report 2013

Sutton Trust Chain Effects December 2018
{{Schools Secondary education in England School types Secondary schools in England Education policy in the United Kingdom High schools and secondary schools Public education in the United Kingdom Public finance of England State schools in the United Kingdom United Kingdom educational programs Educational institutions established in 2000 2000 establishments in England