Less than a third of academies voted in elections for the powerful committees that help to oversee the schools system, Tes can reveal.
In September, the Department for Education held ballots for four places on each of the headteacher boards (HTBs) that cover eight regions across England.
The HTBs have become increasingly influential since they were introduced in 2014. They advise and challenge the regional schools commissioners, who make decisions about the futures of academies, free schools and maintained schools.
All academies that were open on 1 June were eligible to vote, but a response to a Tes freedom of information request shows that only 28 per cent actually cast a ballot.
This represents a slump from the turnout of “almost 40 per cent” in 2014.
In six regions, less than a third of academies voted, with turnout ranging from 19 per cent in North-West London and South-Central England to 38 per cent in the North of England. The reduced turnout came amid a fall in the number of candidates standing for election, concerns about the transparency of HTBs and the fact that the vast majority of schools affected by HTB discussions were not allowed to vote.
The Department for Education dismissed suggestions that the falling turnout showed a lack of confidence in the HTB system, pointing out that there had been a big increase in the number of academies since 2014.
A DfE spokesperson said: “Almost 2,000 school leaders voted in these elections – that’s nearly 300 more than 2014. This is only the second time we have run these elections and, while voter turnout is comparable with similar positions in other professions, we will continue to work with school leaders to maximise the number of votes in future.”
The full results of the elections in each region are shown below.
East Midlands and the Humber
|Pauline Hagen OBE||21|
Turnout: 21.34 per cent
East of England and North-East London
|Iain Michael Erskine||33|
Turnout: 32.35 per cent
Lancashire and West Yorkshire
|Pauline Hagen OBE||28|
Turnout: 31.28 per cent
North of England
Turnout: 38.33 per cent
North-West London and South-Central England
|Dame Sue Bourne DBE||41||Elected|
|Teresa Tunnadine CBE||35|
Turnout: 19.21 per cent
South-East England and South London
|Sir Andrew Carter OBE||62||Elected|
Turnout: 26.6 per cent
Turnout: 33.7 per cent
|Dame Mo Brennan||72||Elected|
Turnout: 28.51 per cent