The government has defended its academies programme during a visit to Birmingham following renewed criticism from local people, it has been reported.
According to the Birmingham Post, schools secretary Ed Balls welcomed the opening of the Midlands city's first three school academies for the beginning of the academic year.
Mr Balls' visit came as the government announced yesterday (September 7th) it is to scrap the £2 million fee currently required to sponsor academy schools.
From September 2011, backers will instead be judged in their skills, experience and commitment to the local community.
Responding to the news, Pete Jackson, a spokesperson for the Alliance Against Birmingham Academies, told the paper: "The government is panicking because they are not quite sure where they are going to find another 200 sponsors able to find £2 million each.
He questioned whether some trusts and individuals behind the new schools have adequate experience and said: "It's about handing more of our schools to the private sector."
Written by Harriet McGowan