Government closing in on academy targets, suggests survey

Around half of non-academy schools are likely to convert between now and 2022, a new report has revealed – meaning the Government’s plans to convert all schools may soon be realised.

The Academies Show, which published the survey, found that just a third of school leaders believe it was “not very likely” their school would convert by 2022.

The Department for Education (DfE) originally required that all non-academy schools to convert by 2022, but later abandoned this approach after the number of schools converting was not keeping pace with targets.

It said schools rated “good” or “outstanding” could stay on under their local authority umbrella.

The Academies Show research found that a quarter of school leaders were “very likely” to join or form a multi-academy trust by 2022, while a further 38 per cent said converting by this time was “fairly likely”.

The report also found that just under two thirds (63 per cent) of schools to have recently converted had an overall positive experience. Just 12 per cent described the experience as negative.

Lucy McPhail, director of the Academies Show, said: “Our research has highlighted the key concerns that many maintained schools have with becoming an academy.”

The latest figures show that 71 per cent of state-funded secondary schools and a quarter (26 per cent) of primary schools have academy status.

A DfE spokesperson said: “As this survey shows, the majority of schools that have converted to become academies say it had a positive impact.

“By working in partnership with each other, schools can benefit from sharing staff, best practice and curriculum expertise. High-quality sponsors can also raise standards in underperforming schools, bringing fresh vision, strong leadership and clear accountability.”