What did the Education Select Committee say about academies and free schools in January 2015?

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The all-Party Education Select Committee found academy conversion is not a magic bullet and the Government should stop exaggerating academy success. It found:

1 ‘Academisation is not always successful nor is it the only proven alternative for a struggling school.’

2 There is no convincing evidence of the impact of academy status on primary schools.

3 The threat of academisation may have galvanised local authorities to take action to improve struggling schools (author’s note: that’s if they had a chance to take such action before academy brokers jumped into schools deemed ‘failing’).

4 Most academy freedoms were available to non-academies. It recommended the freedom to opt out of the National Curriculum should be given to all schools.

5 Local authorities can’t fulfil their role as school champions unless there is a clear guidance about their roles and responsibilities.

6 The Education Funding Agency should be split in two: academy funding and the monitoring of academies finances.

7 The Department for Education should clarify how academy sponsors are chosen.

8 Conflict of interest in academy trusts was a ‘real issue’.

9 Ofsted should be given the power to inspect multi-academy trusts (MATs).

10 It is too soon to assess the quality of education in free schools or their impact on the wider system.

11 Local authorities should be informed if there is a proposal to open a free school in their area.

12 Any future Government would have to examine whether the present ‘dual system of oversight and intervention’ is helpful.

4 February 2015