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Gove celebrates growing number of Academies

05/10/2011 Kelly
Teaching jobs in Academies look set to continue rising with an announcement from the Department for Education (DfE) that almost 1.2 million children in England are now taught in the schools.

This means that more than 40 per cent of all secondary schools are academies, or in the process of becoming academies.

Smarden Primary School in Ashford, Kent, yesterday (October 4th) became the 1,000th school that has opted for academy status.

The July 2010 Academies Act made it easier for schools to apply for academy status and since then the programme has witnessed rapid expansion with some 1500 applications being made.

Education secretary, Michael Gove, said: "[Academies] benefit from longer school days, smaller class sizes, better paid teachers, more personalised learning, improved discipline and higher standards all round."

Academies' freedom from local and central government control allows them to set their own pay and conditions for staff, control their own curriculum as well as setting their term times and school days.

Sheila Todd, Headteacher of Smarden Primary School, said: "Smarden Primary School has converted to academy status to further improve our children’s progress, attainment and achievement."

Not everyone is happy at the rise of Academies however, with some teaching unions criticising the government's focus.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said that increasing the number of academies was, in reality centralising control of schools with the government.

Martin Freedman, the ATL's head of pay, conditions and pensions said removing schools from local authority control effectively made Mr Gove directly responsible for them.

"If parents want to make a complaint about their child's school Mr Gove is going to be incredibly busy," he said.

Mr Freedman also commented that the education secretary's claims that academy teachers earned more were misleading.

Academy teachers are earning more because they work more hours, he stated.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-800749322-ADNFCR
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