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Monday 12th November 2012 | 00:01
Cabinet Office press release
As part of the Government's determination to keep up momentum on education reform and drive up standards, the Prime Minister is announcing today that Government will turn around 400 more of the weakest primary schools.
Speaking ahead of a special Cabinet meeting at one of England's leading academies, the Prime Minister said that by the end of next year, 400 more struggling primary schools would be paired up with sponsors to convert them into Academies.
The Prime Minister also stressed how academies, alongside other education reforms, are absolutely essential to ensure that more children reach their full potential and vowed to go further and faster to ensure Britain develops the talent it needs to succeed in the global race.
The Prime Minister said:
"The driving mission for this Government is to build an aspiration nation, where we unlock and unleash the promise in all our people. A first class education system is absolutely central to that vision.
"We have seen some excellent progress with our reforms, including turning 200 of the worst performing primary schools into sponsored academies, and opening more academies in the last two years than the previous Government opened in a decade.
"Time and time again we have seen how academies with their freedom to innovate, inspire and raise standards are fuelling aspirations and helping to spread success.
"So now we want to go further, faster, with 400 more under-performing primary schools paired up with a sponsor and either open or well on their way to becoming an Academy by the end of next year.
"It is simply not good enough that some children are left to struggle in failing schools, when they could be given the chance to shine. "
In May 2010 there were just 203 Academies, all of them sponsored, and all of them secondaries.
In summer 2011 - with 1,310 primary schools below floor targets (the minimum acceptable level of performance) this Government said it would no longer tolerate a system in which so many pupils leave primary school without a good grasp of English and maths.
So we pledged to turn 200 of the worst primary schools into sponsored Academies - with all the benefits of strong leadership and accountability that the programme brings. As of 1 January 2013 we will have achieved that aim.
We also said we would bring Academy freedoms to our best schools - allowing them to become 'converter' Academies - not instead of turning weak schools into Academies, but as well.
New figures show that since May 2010:
· 2,456 schools are now Academies with a further 823 in the pipeline- more than 3,200 in total.
· Under this Government, 333 failing primary and secondary schools have been taken over and become sponsored academies - more than the previous Government created in 10 years in office.
· There are now 37 local authorities where three-quarters of secondary schools are either open Academies or due to open as Academies.
· There are now 1.9 million pupils attending Academies across the country and 122,000 teachers in Academies, representing 27 per cent of the workforce
Now, because of the momentum and strength we have built into the Academy programme, the Government is pledging to go even further and faster and agree a sponsored academy for a further 400 of the worst performing primary schools by the end of next year.
And to help build the next generation of ARKs and Harrises (the chains that are taking on and turning around schools, giving pupils that had been abandoned the chance to shine) the Government has announced a fund of up to £10m to develop new, high-quality Academy sponsors who have the potential to be the big chains - the ARKs and Harrisses of the future. Outstanding Academies and schools, universities, businesses, independent schools and faith organisations will all be welcome to apply to the fund.
The rapid conversion of so many great schools to Academies means there is now a larger pool of outstanding schools to build these chains and to support and improve underperforming schools. Since the start of this year, the number of chains has more than doubled - there are now 935 Academies in 304 different chains - and the evidence shows that Academies that are in a chain of three or more improve faster than others. Between September 2009 and July 2011, 22% of academies in chains of three or more were judged "outstanding" in their Ofsted inspection, compared to just 13% of all schools.
David Wootton, Chair of the Independent Academies Association and Regional Executive South for Academy sponsor, United Learning, said:
"The freedoms Academies enjoy are driving schools to transform education across England, leading to significant improvements in attainment and wide ranging other benefits for students and their communities. This transformation is taking place through many different academy contexts, from Free Schools to Converters, happening across the whole of the country and is rapidly 'closing the gap', particularly in areas of disadvantage. Academies are using the freedoms to innovate and lever up standards through the curriculum, staffing, and learning structures, using resources to innovate in key areas such as inclusion, community engagement and additional needs."
Progress on academies
Under the Coalition Government 333 failing primary and secondary schools have been taken over and become sponsored academies - more than the previous Government, created in 10 years in office
At 1 November 2012 there are:
2,456 open Academies in England. Of which
1,920 are converters
536 are sponsored
864 are primary Academies (718 converters, 146 sponsored)
1,533 are secondary Academies (1,148 converters, 385 sponsored)
57 are special Academies
2,253 Academies have been set up since May 2010 - at an average of 72 a month. There are 122,000 teachers in Academies, representing 27 per cent of the workforce
-13,000 teachers in primary Academies (6 per cent of the workforce)
-109,000 in secondary (49 per cent)
On Secondary Schools
*Across England, 55 per cent of secondaries are open or pipeline Academies.
*More than half of the secondary schools in 88 local authorities are now open or pipeline Academies.
*More than three-quarters of secondaries in 37 local authorities are now open or pipeline Academies.
*There are six local authorities where every secondary school is either an open or pipeline Academy - Bromley, Bexley, Swindon, Kingston-upon-Thames, Darlington and Rutland.
On Primary Schools
*Across England, eight per cent of primaries are open or pipeline Academies. This figure is rapidly increasing.
*There are now 19 local authorities where at least one in five primary schools are now either open Academies or pipeline Academies.
*The primary school list is headed by Darlington - where two-thirds of primary schools are either Academies or due to be Academies.