Coasting academies will face same sanctions as all schools, Nicky Morgan reveals

Struggling academies will be taken over by another academy chain if they do not show sufficient improvements, under new proposals set out by Nicky Morgan.

The education secretary announced that the government’s coasting schools programme will be expanded to include academies, meaning they will face rapid intervention if they do not show enough of an improvement in results.

Similarly, any academy with an inadequate rating from Ofsted could face “instant intervention” from a separate academy chain.

Local authority schools already face such sanctions through the Education and Adoption Bill, which is currently making its way through Parliament.

And under the new proposals, existing academies will face similar interventions and could see their sponsors changed.

The move comes after sustained criticism from heads and teachers leaders that the government was creating a two tier system between state maintained and academy schools.

The Association of School and College Leaders said it welcomed the government’s decision to bring the powers of intervention into line, but urged for greater backing to help such schools.

“However, we would emphasise that intervention should be accompanied by wider support to understand the reasons behind underperformance and to put in place a package of measures to address those issues,” ASCL’s general secretary Brian Lightman said.

“For instance, in some cases schools may be hampered in making progress by the very severe recruitment problems which exist in finding teachers in key subjects.”

There are now more than 5,000 academies in England, and in his autumn statement chancellor George Osborne said he wanted to make “local authorities running schools a thing of the past”.

His comments came after Mr Cameron said every school should become an academy.

Steve Lancashire, CEO of REAch2 and REAch4 academy trusts, welcomed the move.

“Regardless of whether it is an academy, free school or council-run, every school should be held to the same high and exacting standards because a single day in a coasting or failing school is one day too many,” he said.

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