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Forced academies and warning notices - February 2017


All existing evidence supports our belief that academy status does not in itself guarantee school improvement and may not be the best (or even most appropriate) course of action to tackle underperformance. Indeed, HMI acknowledges that academy status is only one way of delivering school improvement and there are other equally valid ways of working. Arguably, the most successful schools are those that fully involve the whole school community in important decisions – where any change is ‘bottom up’ rather than imposed.

NAHT is not against schools becoming academies if parents, teachers and the wider community feel it is the right option. However, schools that have been making good progress on standards are being coerced into leaving local authority control against their will – with pupils’ education suffering as a result of the distraction. 

NAHT wants to see every school and every child succeed. We do not, therefore, defend under-performance and recognise that sometimes there may have to be changes at a school. The government is now embarking on a programme of forcing academy status on those schools which it has labelled as ‘underperforming’ when in fact many are already on the rise. Ironically, as schools fight to keep themselves inside the local authority community, they can simply become distracted away from their most important task – providing the best quality education they can to pupils. Forced academy conversion, therefore, can have the opposite effect on school standards. 

Due to the challenging climate in which all head teachers now work, NAHT is receiving a greater number of enquiries regarding the security of their roles when their school becomes eligible for intervention following an Ofsted inspection. This guidance sets out the implications for members who find themselves in this position, together with the options that may be available to them, and demonstrates how NAHT, working with partners at Browne-Jacobson, can successfully support schools from being forcibly academised. 

You are strongly advised to download this FAQ document and distribute to SLT and governors as appropriate.

This article is available to NAHT members only.

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