Bid to take over struggling schools

30th June 2006 at 01:00
Almost 300 under-performing secondaries should be closed and re-opened as academies or be taken over by high-performing neighbours as trust schools, one of the Government's most influential advisers says today.

Drastic action is needed to prevent the emergence of a two-tier system of schools, according to Sir Cyril Taylor, chair of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust.

Writing in today's TES, Sir Cyril says high-performing specialist schools should form trusts, under new powers set out in the education Bill, to take control of secondaries where fewer than 25 per cent of pupils gain five or more A*-C grade GCSEs including English and maths.

Sir Cyril told The TES: "There are around 300 schools which have appalling results. They have had all manner of government initiatives. They have been fresh-started and been part of Excellence in the Cities and it has not worked. It's not right that 250,000 of our children attend schools that are not giving them the education they deserve. If schools are not fit for purpose then they should not be allowed to continue.

"It is not always the school's fault. They are often in areas of deprivation and the pupils may not speak English as a first language.

Because the schools are unpopular they have vacancies and end up with children excluded from other schools."

The move would ensure all secondaries perform well enough to get specialist status and has been welcomed by Alan Johnson, Education Secretary, he said.

Currently about 70 low-performing non-specialist schools have been identified as future academies.

News 4, Sir Cyril Taylor 21

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