North West London


high pay for those running multi- academy trusts, with letters being written to trusts asking them to explain high salaries. But even if the current government is no longer such a cheerleader for academies, it still has to oversee a school system in which academies are a prominent component. The long drive in support of academies has changed the secondary school landscape in particular. Figures from the National Audit Office in February showed that 72 per cent of secondary schools in England are now academies. But in the primary sector, only 27 per cent of schools have become academies. Because there are many more primary than secondary schools, this means that, overall, 35 per cent of state schools are academies. As the National Audit Office observed, this means that local authorities remain responsible for many primary schools in their area but might have much less involvement in secondary schools. That in turn raises questions about strategic planning between local authorities and multi-academy trusts, with the National Audit Office calling for more attention to be paid to how to create an “integrated, efficient and effective” school system, in which academies and local authority schools can work together. With less pressure for schools to become academies, the split system between local authorities and academies seems to be a long-term arrangement. It is no longer a case of waiting for local education authorities to wither away, leaving a fully academised system in their wake. Instead – as the following Parliamentary Review articles indicate – local authority schools and academies are both likely to be here for the foreseeable future.

Primary academies, such as this newly opened one in Putney, are likely here to stay

had never quite seemed to be as much enthusiasm for academies. That impression was made clearer in a speech by the education secretary Damian Hinds to the National Association of Head Teachers conference in Liverpool, when he spoke of wanting to end the use of academy status as a kind of threat or punishment for schools. “I want to move away from forced academisation being seen as this punitive threat that can hang over schools that are not failing,” Mr Hinds told the conference. It was a message that went down well with head teachers, as did the education secretary’s call for more clarity about when schools would be considered to be underperforming. He promised an end to the system of “coasting” schools and “floor standards”. He told head teachers that “fear of being forcibly turned into an academy” could contribute to “stress and anxiety” for school staff. Mr Hinds also promised tighter financial scrutiny of multi-academy trusts and called for improvements in how they were governed. Even before this speech, education ministers had raised questions on the


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