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Don't force schools to become academies, says NAHT

The school leaders' union, NAHT, comments on the findings from the recent National Audit Office report

Posted by Lucinda Reid | February 22, 2018 | School life

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report looking at the progress of academies. One of the key findings has cast more doubt over the government's continued plans to force schools to become academies even if there are no available sponsors in their area.

In response to the report, Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of school leaders' union NAHT said: 'Converting to academy status can be a positive step for a school and we support the right of schools to choose to convert where it’s in the interests of the school and the community it serves. We remain strongly opposed to forced academisation.”

The NAHT represents more than 29,000 school leaders in early years, primary, secondary and special schools and is committed to influencing government policy for the benefit of leaders and learners across the UK. Consequently, NAHT are conscious that the report highlights the issues surrounding forced academy conversion and this should not be ignored.

'As the NAO report shows, forcing schools to become academies does not guarantee that anything will change for the better for pupils and staff in those schools,” continued Paul. “The government's one size fits all approach means that there are often delays of months and months in finding a sponsor. This slows school improvement rather than speeding it up. The important thing is to provide effective support quickly, and forced conversion is not the answer. In many cases, the Local Authority will still be the best partner for a school seeking to improve.”

'The lack of willing sponsors, and the number of schools that have been forced to convert but are miles away from their sponsor schools underlines the problems associated with forced conversion,” concluded Paul.

For more information about the National Audit Office report, visit their website.

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