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Nicky Morgan: "Our experience also shows that sponsored academies can be the best solution for failing schools"

Nicky Morgan praises business sponsorship of academies

Speech at CBI Annual Conference welcomes more businesses to get involved with new and existing schools

Posted by Stephanie Broad | November 10, 2015 | People, policy, politics

Nicky Morgan has used a speech at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Annual Conference to praise business' role in driving up educational standards, by sponsoring academies and opening UTCs. Morgan spoke about the importance of the business and education sectors working together, to raise ambition and productivity.

She said: 'Businesses, including many of you here today, are playing an important role in our wide programme of reform.

'Take the academies programme. It has built on the evidence of what we know delivers high-performing schools internationally - autonomy and accountability. It gives greater freedom to those who are best placed to make decisions about individual schools and many high-performing schools have converted to embrace these benefits.

'Our experience also shows that sponsored academies can be the best solution for failing schools, where the sponsor has a clear responsibility to improve standards.

'In September this year, BAE became the sponsor of Furness Academy in Cumbria, after it was placed in special measures. As the main local employer, BAE has a keen interest in the skills of school-leavers and the academy will benefit from corporate support at the trust level, as well as leadership development opportunities for staff.

'Siemens is the sponsor or partner of four open and four future UTCs, including Lincoln UTC which opened in September last year and specialises in engineering and science.

'I’m also thrilled that many businesses and individuals support academies through the Academy Ambassadors programme, which places talented business leaders on academy trust boards as non-executive directors.

'Academy trusts benefit from their business advice, support and challenge. This is alongside the important role businesses can play helping with governance across all types of school, providing oversight and encouragement to drive up standards.'

Morgan's speech closed by inviting CBI members to take part in the academies programme or consider opening a free school. She also welcomed opportunities for partnerships, to offer careers advice and work experience.

'To those of you who are already involved, let me say thank you. To those of you who want to get involved or do more, I welcome and urge you to do so,' she said.

'So let me be clear of my ask and pitch to CBI members. Please:

  • write to me if you are interested in becoming an academy sponsor
  • contact New Schools Network to discuss applying to open a free school
  • speak to Academies Ambassadors about becoming a non-executive director of a multi-academy trust
  • work with groups like Business in the Community who can help pair you up with local schools who need your help with delivering careers advice and finance and enterprise skills
  • and, of course, you can support the Careers and Enterprise Company'

 As of 2015, 30% of academies are sponsored and 70% are high-performing converters. Over 2,500 are part of academy chains, nearly three times the amount in 2012.

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