English Schooling

Every English school to become an academy, ministers to announce

David Cameron meets pupils at the Harris academy in LondonDavid Cameron meets pupils at the Harris academy in London. The PM has said he wants to place education into the hands of headteachers rather than ‘bureaucrats’. Photograph: Andy Rain/Pool/EPA

Legislation to turn every school in England into an academy independent of local authority control will be unveiled in the budget.

The prime minister said his “vision for our schooling system” was to place education into the hands of headteachers and teachers rather than “bureaucrats”.

The move follows criticism of the government for going into stasis during the referendum campaign. Cameron and the chancellor, George Osborne, are keen to show that they are in charge of a “reforming” government.

Sources told the Guardian that the plans would be a key part of Osborne’s budget on Wednesday in order to start the process before officials are forced to shut down work because of the purdah before the May elections and EU referendum.

As the chancellor prepares to announce his budget against the backdrop of a deteriorating economic outlook, the government is keen to show that it is pressing ahead with changes, despite the looming referendum.

The chancellor has faced claims of backing away from major measures after he dropped proposals for a radical overhaul of tax relief for pension contributions.

Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, who has been touted as a potential rival to Osborne for the Conservative leadership when the prime minister steps down, is expected to give more details of the plan for the education shakeup when she opens the House of Commons debate on the budget on Thursday. She will appear on the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday evening. The Treasury refused to comment.

The plans are likely to be fiercely rejected by Labour, which argues that taking thousands of schools out of council control means that accountability and oversight falls on to Whitehall alone.


Interesting facts:

The Advanced Level General Certificate of Education, commonly referred to as an A-level, is a qualification offered by education institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cameroon, and the Cayman Islands. It is also offered in Scotland by a small number of...

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