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School Academies Explained: The Important Things To Know

Following the recent announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne that all schools in the UK will become academies by 2022, we explain exactly what this means for the education system and the changes you can expect.

George Osbourne

What is special about an Academy?

Firstly, the way in which an Academy is funded is different from the traditional local government funded system. Instead, Academies receive funding via central government.

It is also the responsibility of the school principal or headteacher to run daily operations within the school and they report into charitable bodies called Academy Trusts. It is through these trusts that support is given and received along with strategic advice and expertise.

Academies will have more freedom and creativity surrounding teaching and the curriculum, which is hoped will encourage more creativity and innovation at school.

Finally, an Academy will have control over teachers pay, contractual terms and conditions and term lengths.

What remains the same?
Academies will receive the same level of funding per child as a maintained school and they must follow the current laws and guidelines surrounding admissions, exclusions and special educational needs.

What are the reasons behind changing the current system?
It is believed that with greater independence and in some cases “sponsors”, standards and results in Academies will improve at an accelerated rate.

Whilst some Academies that were previously schools are indeed performing better than before, there is no evidence to suggest a definite upward trend when schools make the conversion and in some cases Academies have shown poorer results.

What are people saying about this?
Supporters and decision makers such David Cameron and George Osborne himself, claim that by removing the bureaucracy surrounding locally maintained schools it will empower headteachers to drive standards higher than ever. This comes in response to a dwindling position on the global educational league table and a bid for drastic reform.

Photo credit: bbc.co.uk

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