Gove promises academies expansion

By Alex Stevenson

Around 100 failing state schools would be turned over to private sector academy management under a Conservative government.

Shadow schools secretary Michael Gove told the Tory party conference in Manchester the plans would see management of struggling schools transferred to academies with a “track record of success”.

All schools in special measures for over a year by the end of the next school year would be reopened as academies in September 2011.

In a bid to expand the academy model first introduced by Tony Blair, which sees private sponsors take over responsibility for the management of a school, all schools which subsequently fall into special measures would instantly see their status changed.

Any non-failing school which wished to switch to academy status would be allowed to do so through a bid process, which schools rated ‘outstanding’ would be able to skip.

And in further good news for ‘outstanding’ schools, those receiving the top rating would find themselves exempted from future inspection cycles. Instead they would face a series of metrics showing if the school is deteriorating, Tories said.

“We need urgent action to deal with the problems in our very worst schools,” Mr Gove said.

“Unless we act quickly to help our most disadvantaged children, thousands of young lives will be blighted. Where schools fail to teach the basics properly, where discipline is poor and where the leadership has failed, we will act.

“We will take schools out of the hands of those who have let children down, and install leadership teams with a proven track record of academic success.”

The Conservatives would reassess Ofsted’s assessment framework to focus on ‘core activities’ of schools, teaching and learning, with the number of areas assessed cut down from four to 18, Mr Gove added.