The government has published its much-anticipated Education and Adoption Bill, which, as widely reported this morning, will see all schools deemed to be “failing” converted into academies.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan anticipates there will be up to 1,000 such schools over the course of this Parliament. The bill will also aim to crack down on “coasting” schools.
But what exactly does the bill actually say?
1. Coasting schools
We still don’t know what “coasting” actually means. Any heads and teachers hoping the new bill would shed light on what a coasting school looks like will be disappointed because the definition of the term will be published in the regulations of the bill and after a consultation, which is not likely until later in the summer.
2. More powers of intervention to the secretary of state…
The bill hands considerable more power to the secretary of state. Previously, only the local authority was able to issue the governing bodies of maintained schools with a warning notice. Under the changes, the education secretary will have these powers as well.
3. …many more powers…
The bill also prevents local authorities from issuing a warning notice if the secretary of state has already done so. They can only issue a warning notice if the secretary of state allows them to. Any previous warning notice from local authority will cease to have an effect.
4. …many, many more powers
The secretary of state will now be able to say who should be appointed to an governing body of a school that is “eligible for intervention” in a bid to improve the school. Whereas before it was left to the local authority, the new measures hand that power of who should be appointed to the DfE.
5. Failing schools
What we do know is that if a school has been rated “inadequate” by Ofsted and is not already an academy it will be converted into one. According to the DfE, the presumption will be that even if a school is showing improvement but is rated inadequate it will face an academy order.
6. Duty to convert
Local authorities and governing bodies must take reasonable steps toward a school’s “successful conversion into an academy” once it has been served with an academy order.
7. Powers to close a school
Under the new bill, the secretary of state will be handed the ability to revoke an academy order and thereby instruct a local authority to close a school.
Out of the 10 pages of the Education and Adoption Bill, eight and a half are taken up by the former.