Prime minister David Cameron has called for all schools in England to become academies, claiming they improve standards and give power to headteachers and teachers, and “not bureaucrats”.
In June it was announced that up to 1,000 schools would become academies, including schools which were failing. By this point there were 4,676 academies in England, a staggering increase on the 203 open in May 2010.
This means that more than half of the secondary schools in England are academies, which are independent from the control of local authorities and receive funding directly from the government.
The daily running of schools remains the responsibility of the heads of the academies, but they are overseen by academy trusts, who are individual charitable bodies.
“Those schools that are sponsored by academies, you can see the improvement in their results since they were taken over and given that extra independence and that extra assistance,” said Mr Cameron.
“My vision for our schooling system should be that every school should aspire to have that independence, for the head to be captain of the ship, to be able to make greater determination about the future of that school,” he continued.
However, teaching unions have opposed academies, claiming they are a form of privatisation which undermines the state school system. The largest union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), say there has not been any evidence of standards being higher if a school is an academy.