Michael Gove, Secretary State for Education, has raised the prospect that a school’s move to academy status may not be the irreversible decision that it had until now appeared to be, and that an academy sponsor may be removed from control of a school.
From the inception of the academies programme there has been concern that conversion to an academy is a one way street. Critics have asked what happens if the academisation ‘does not work’ and standards in the school drop or fail to improve.
Currently, once a school has become an academy, either as a converter or as sponsored academy, there appears to be no mechanism to take the school back from the Trust or sponsor if they fail to deliver the improvements they have promised.
It now seems that Michael Gove has recognised this potential problem.
In an article in the Oxford Times today, Michael Gove is quoted as ‘admitting that’ the academies policy was not working at every school. He suggests that in certain cases where a particular sponsor is not bringing about the improvements necessary, they should be replaced and another academy sponsor allowed to take over the school.
It is welcome that Michael Gove has publicly raised this issue.
We wait with interest to see what mechanisms and policy changes he and the government propose as a solution.