Education secretary praises school leaders for academy programme success


Education secretary Damian Hinds has praised school leaders for the continued success of the government’s academies programme.

More than 70 school leaders joined Mr Hinds at an event at Lancaster House to celebrate the fact that 50% of pupils in England are now learning in either free schools or academies.

The academies programme, launched in 2000 but changed by the 2010 Academies Act, gave school leaders more freedom to shape what is taught in the classroom and has also linked with enhanced school standards.

Academies minister Lord Agnew co-hosted the reception, which was attended by top academies including the Co-op Academies Trust, the Harris Foundation and STAR Academies.

Mr Hinds praised those in attendance for improving standards in some of England’s most disadvantaged areas.

He explained that the “hard work and dedication of teachers and school leaders” has enabled “the overwhelming majority of academies” to “tell a positive story”.

The education secretary added that boosting standards is helping to provide greater choice for parents, but said the challenge is to make sure the transformation of education continues.

“The fact that more than half a million children are now in Good or Outstanding sponsored academies that were previously underperforming demonstrates that when schools come together, as part of a multi-academy trust, they can achieve far more than they can on their own,” Mr Hinds said.

Government research, released in the early part of 2019, found that thousands of pupils across England have benefitted from higher standards in schools that switched to becoming academies.

Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive of Confederation of School Trusts, explained that further guidance for school leaders has been published to further enhance the education system.

“We want trust leaders to have the confidence to say that their trust is a group of schools working in collaboration as one entity to improve and maintain high educational standards to help local communities thrive by giving children the best opportunities to learn,” she said.