In his budget speech yesterday Mr Osborne pledged to “set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy” and stated that all maintained schools must have converted to academy status by 2020 or have official plans to do so by 2022.
This move is just part of a £1.5 billion package of funding for education which also includes a new focus on school performance in Northern England.
The Chancellor also announced plans to extend the school day, with schools being able to bid for funding to allow them to offer at least an additional five hours of lessons or extra-curricular activities per week.
Amongst other provisions, a review carried by Professor Adrian Smith is also set to consider whether studying maths until the age of 18 should be made compulsory; and an extra £500m will be made available to address imbalances in the system and ensure “fair funding formula” for schools.
Following the budget the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has also published a white paper proposing that heads who take over struggling schools are to be given a two and half years reprieve from Ofsted inspections to enable them to turn the school around.
The white paper also include plans to end the legal obligation for academies to have parent governors in all schools. Instead there would be a greater obligation to consult with parents and governors would have to satisfy a skills test.
In addition, the Government proposes to scrap Qualified Teacher Status and replace it with a more rigorous accreditation, approved by head teachers, focusing on a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom.
Whilst these announcements have been met with a mixed response from school leaders and teaching unions, the government’s plan to convert all maintained schools into academies has been expected for some time. Now that these plans have been announced, maintained schools may wish to examine their options for conversion and potential collaborations with other converting schools or existing academies.