Plans to force schools to become academies


Theresa May has abandoned plans to force schools to become academies and cleared the way for her own reforms, including a new generation of grammars.

The Education Bill was based on a white paper which initially suggested all schools in England would be compelled to become academies. But the element of compulsion was dropped after protests from councils and, instead, the bill encouraged schools to convert.

Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, confirmed that the Government has scrapped legislation that would have forced schools in under-performing local authorities to become academies. The Prime Minister will instead focus on her own school reforms, such as encouraging schools to convert “voluntarily”, and new legislation to end the ban on grammar schools and increasing the number of faith schools.

The government has also announced a new Technical and Further Education Bill.

Mrs Greening said: “Our focus, however, is on building capacity in the system and encouraging schools to convert voluntarily.

“No changes to legislation are required for these purposes and therefore we do not require wider education legislation in this session to make progress on our ambitious education agenda.”

The Government had originally said in the Budget that it wanted to force all schools to become academies by 2022, but in May this year it changed the policy to only academisation schools that did not meet a “minimum performance threshold”.