Cameron rules out prospect of academy U-turn

Prime minister David Cameron has effectively said there will be no U-turn over the government’s plans to turn every school into an academy

The news came during prime minister’s questions, which was dominated by the Conservatives’ controversial plans to convert all schools into academies.

During the exchange, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asked whether the government would be introducing legislation to force good and outstanding schools “against their wishes” to become academies.

In response, Mr Cameron said: “I can’t really pre-empt the Queen’s speech but on this one example, I will help him out. We’re going to have academies for all and it’s going to be in the Queen’s speech.”

The move to convert every school, even high-performing ones, has caused outcry among the Conservative backbenches, who have called on ministers to drop the “compulsion” part of the academy plans.

Over the weekend, the County Council Network, a group of 37 largely Conservative local authorities, warned that the plans contained within the White Paper posed a “grave risk” and would not lead to higher standards.

Mr Corbyn told his opposite number that he “looked forward” to seeing the legislation, adding “but there is still time for the U-turn that is at the back of the prime minister’s mind”.

The Labour leader also demanded to know who was in favour of the “top down reorganisation” of the schools system.

Mr Cameron cited the support of the chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, despite the head of Ofsted previously writing to the Department for Education raising his concerns over the quality of certain academy chains.

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