She is already on the back foot, trying to bribe Local Education Authorities (that’s your council) with promises that they can run academy trusts themselves – a promise that is full of opportunities for corruption, as This Blog’s story about tax avoidance showed.
Now she has information proving that academy and ‘free’ schools are dunces.
Yes, she can quote the cliché about “lies, damned lies and statistics”, but that will just reinforce what we already know – that Conservatives are ruled by ignorance and ideological stubbornness. Those are hardly qualities she will want to emphasize!
Yet she remains intent on driving education standards down.
Where can she go from here?
The back benches seem a reasonable option.
The government’s plan to force all schools to become academies has come under further attack with research which suggests that council-maintained schools outperform academies at inspection.
Analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that 86% of local authority schools are rated good or outstanding by the schools watchdog, Ofsted, compared with 82% of academies and 79% of free schools.
Looking only at data drawn from the new, more rigorous Ofsted inspection framework introduced in 2012, the LGA says the figures are even more pronounced, with 81% of council-maintained schools rated good or outstanding, compared with 73% of academies and 79% of free schools.
The LGA claims the research shows that “inadequate” council-maintained schools are more likely to improve if they stay with their local authority, rather than convert to an academy – 98% of council schools improved in their first Ofsted inspection after being rated “inadequate” compared with 88% of academies.
The LGA study was released early as the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, came under increasing pressure from many in her own party to back down on plans, outlined in the education white paper, to force all schools to become academies.
Morgan would not be drawn on reports that discussions are under way about possible concessions aimed at appeasing Tory rebels, including allowing the best-performing local authorities to run their own multi-academy trusts (MATs).
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