Schools feel pressurised to convert to academy status


New research has found that over 80 per cent of schools in England feel pressurised to convert to academy status.

The study of over 100 schools in England by HCSS Education found however, when teachers and school leaders were asked whether they would actually want their school to convert to an academy, over half of schools (59%) said no.

When asked what their main concern was about the conversion process, 65% stated that staff may be nervous or wary of the change.

Other concerns included losing the support of the local authority (47%), and the school being unsettled during the transition phase (41%). 29% of schools were concerned about the leadership team’s capabilities and 24% had worries about producing a viable business plan.

41% of schools feel that the main reason their school would convert is because they would be forced to become an academy.

However, 82% of schools do approve of the key principles of an academy: that giving heads, teachers and governors greater freedom over their budget can help improve the quality of the education they provide. 
59% of school staff would want to convert because it would give them more independence and freedom than a maintained school.

Howard Jackson, CEO of HCSS Education, said: “The results of the survey were really interesting and it seems that the pressure from Government is having a significant effect on academisation and is a contributing factor for many conversions.

“However, while the benefits of greater autonomy are appealing to help improve educational standards, there are still a number of concerns that are perhaps holding schools back from change. Losing the support of the local authority is clearly daunting for schools but how the changes will affect staff and pupils is the number one concern for most.

“Academisation doesn’t come without its challenges. But what is important is that both academies and maintained schools keep their focus on raising educational standards."

School Leadership Today